HURON TOWNSHIP, MI-Jerry Campbell, chairman of Citizens RepublicBancorp and a thoroughbred horse stable owner, has submitted aformal proposal to the Michigan Office of the Racing Commission tobuild a $142-million racing track on 240 acres here, just south ofInterstate 275 and Eureka Road, near Detroit Metro Airport.Campbell, a member of the Magna Entertainment board of directors,wants to take the license that had been planned for Magna until itdropped its $325-million racetrack plans in Romulus in August.

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The plan for Pinnacle Race Course includes the track, 200,000 sfof retail (made up of restaurants, shopping venues andentertainment), a large family picnic area and capacity for 10,000spectators. Campbell expects the track will employ more than 3,100people, he says in a press release. The township Board of Trusteesand the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Associationsupport the new track, as does Wayne County chairman RobertFicano.

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In the release, Campbell said the track could be open bySeptember 2008. It would be the only thoroughbred track left inMichigan if approved, as the Magna-owned Great Lakes Downs inMuskegon, formerly owned by Campbell, is closing Nov. 6, 2007. “Itwill be a devastating blow to the state's agricultural businesswhen Great Lakes Downs closes,” Campbell says in the release.

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He says in the release that he would like to host a race inearly April each year called the Michigan Derby. The derby would bea preparatory race in the weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby, with a$500,000 purse. A $5-million bonus would be paid to the owner ofthe horse that wins the Michigan Derby and then goes on to win theKentucky Derby.

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Campbell is reportedly seeking to have the state allow Pinnacleto have slot machines, not currently allowed unless local votersapprove. Local experts believe that Magna is leaving the racetrackbusiness in the state because it could not get permission toinstall slot machines. Campbell reportedly says his track could atleast break even without casino-style gaming.

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