10/19/2008 12:00AM

Campbell, Houghton dominate Sire Stakes


NEW BOSTON, Mich. - The largest crowd of the inaugural season at Pinnacle Race Course turned out to see the Michigan Sire Stakes in its new home. The series, which evolved from a pair of juvenile stakes races first run at Detroit Race Course in 1985, had run the previous nine seasons at Great Lakes Downs. Both tracks are now shuttered.

Pinnacle CEO Felicia Campbell was the big winner on the day as she won the first two races. Valley Loot, who had won two stakes races at the meet, was a handy 3 1/4-length winner over invader She Could be Good and five other older fillies and mares for trainer Ronnie Allen. Jockey Mike Allen and Valley Loot toured the mile and an eighth in 1:54.80 and paid $3.

Valley Loot earned $50,843 for her effort. The purses were for this year's Sire Stakes were substantially lower than in previous years. They were advertised in the program as $80,000 added with an estimated value of $120,000, but each came to about $85,000.

Campbell's Wave Pool pulled off a minor upset against in the 3-year-old fillies division, beating favored Clever Idea by a length and a half in the field of seven. Freddie Mata was aboard the homebred, who raced the mile and a sixteenth in 1:48.92, paying $11.60.

* Leading jockey Terry Houghton then took over, winning the next three races. Favored Bipolar Express, owned by breeders Gene and Phyllis Gilmore, gave Gerald Bennett his lone Sire Stakes win. Longshot Rhythm in Motion was second in the mile and a sixteenth event. Bipolar Express raced the distance in 1.47.90 and returned $5.20.

Houghton then teamed up with leading trainer Robert Gorham and was able to get Skyline Star to last by a neck over Hakuna Matata and the favored Gorham runner Ittybittymeadow and eight other juvenile fillies. Skyline Star, who is owned by Henry Mast, paid $7.20 after speeding the six furlongs in 1:14.06.

Mr. Conclusive drew off under Houghton to win the juvenile male race by nine lengths at even money. Meadow Wise and Juggle, both from the Gorham and Mast barn, were second and third, respectively, in the field of 12. Mr. Conclusive, owned by Charlie Williams, was one of three colts in the six furlong race who was saddled by Sandy Adkins. He completed the race in 1:13.20.

The nine lengths was an Equibase estimate after the photo finish computer malfunctioned and was out of order for the remainder of the card.

* Meadow Vespers became a four-time Sire Stakes winner for owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele in the finale of the series, but had to withstand a claim of foul after he exchanged bumps with third-place finisher Rockem Sockem. Meadow Vespers, winning for the first time at the meet in the tough handicap division, mounted a four-wide rally before his rocky stretch run and was up to win by two lengths over It's a Ego Thing.

Jockey Ivan Gonzalez was aboard Meadow Vespers, who ran the mile and an eighth in 1:54.26, less than a second off of the record that Rockem Sockem set last month. The favorite paid $5.