ROMULUS, MI-A new $100-million thoroughbred horseracing track has been given state approval for a site near Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus. The state’s Office of Racing Commissioner approved a license to Michigan Racing Inc., a subsidiary of MagnaEntertainment Corp., to build the complex.

Michigan Racing plans a complex that could feature three racing tracks set inside each other, an entertainment pavilion for simulcast racing and at least 21 barns with 36 horse stalls each. The complex would be on 212 acres the company already owns, near Interstate 94, on the northeast corner of Vining and Wick roads. It is also located about two miles from the airport. Racing at the track could begin as early as 2009.

The project could generate about 1,000 jobs and would bring thoroughbred racing to the Detroit area for the first time in more than 20 years. Two other tracks, in Northville and Hazel Park, offer harness racing. “After careful and objective review of the applications, I have reached the conclusion that Michigan Racing Inc. possesses the most comprehensive plan to bring Thoroughbred racing back to the Detroit Area,” commissioner Christine C. White says in a statement.

Magna, which is based in Toronto, sold its interest in Great Lakes Downs, a thoroughbred track in Muskegon, last year. State law bars companies from owning morethan one race track. Magna owns or operates 14 other racetracks around the country including Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore, where the Preakness Stakes is held each year.

Leading up to Tuesday’s announcement there were two state racing licenses available, but one of the tracks must be located in Detroit. State officials said they planned to begin reviewing applications for the Detroit track soon.

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