06/30/2004 11:00PM

Great Lakes: Back to 3-year-olds

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MUSKEGON, Mich. - Rockem Sockem, defeated by older horses twice this meet at Great Lakes Downs, returns to the 3-year-old ranks when he faces six in the $40,000 Spartan Stakes on Saturday evening.

All six entrants in the Spartan, a seven-furlong race for colts and geldings, will carry 122 pounds.

One of two entrants trained by Bob Gorham, Rockem Sockem drew the rail for the Spartan and will be ridden again by leading rider Terry Houghton, who rode Rockem Sockem to victory in the Lansing earlier this meet. In his first start of the meet, Rockem Sockem was beaten by past Michigan champion Secret Romeo. Following the Lansing, he was defeated in the Wolverine Stakes by Above the Wind, an older horse and past divisional winner.

Against his own age group, Rockem Sockem is 4 for 5 in stakes competition and was named the juvenile champ here last year. Among his competitors Saturday is stablemate Heza Mountain Man, who was second in the Lansing. Heza Mountain Man won the Little Ones here last meet before Rockem Sockem emerged as the Gorham barn leader.

Jason Tervort will ride Heza Mountain Man.

From the inside, the Spartan field consists of Rockem Sockem; Elite Service, Roberto Perez the rider; Express Enjoyment, Felipe Santos; Monetary Dancer, Luis Martinez Sr.; Exclusivenjoyment, Mary Doser; Top Plum, Robert Lester; and Heza Mountain Man.

The Spartan is the fifth race on the eight-race card, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

* Great Lakes Downs has added Sunday to the racing calendar from July to August. Post time for Friday and Saturday is 6:30 p.m. Eastern. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, racing starts at 5 p.m.