06/18/2005 12:00AM

Above the Wind faces familiar cast


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Rockem Sockem, the 2004 Michigan horse of the year, and Above the Wind, last year's champion older male, head a field of 10 in Monday's $50,000 Wolverine Stakes at Great Lakes Downs. The six-furlong Wolverine is for Michigan-bred 3-year-olds and up.

Above the Wind, a consistent 8-year-old trained by Ronnie Allen, deserves to be the favorite in the Wolverine. Regular rider Freddie Mata has the mount on Above the Wind, who was second in the Florida Thoroughbred Charities at the Ocala Training Center on March 21 in his last start. He has put together a record of 2-2-1 in five starts this year. Above the Wind won this race last year and will face four of the six opponents that he beat that day.

Rockem Sockem traded jabs with Above the Wind last season, including in the Wolverine, in which he finished second, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. He was unplaced in his only start this year at Hawthorne.

Now 4, Rockem Sockem was a Michigan champion at both 2 and 3. He gets the services of leading rider Terry Houghton.

Jaguar Joe returned from a six-month layoff to record his third straight victory on May 17. An eight-time winner at Great Lakes, Jaguar Joe will be making his first start for trainer James Jackson, who claimedhim out of his last race for $16,000.