09/30/2003 11:00PM

Great Lakes Downs: Sires Stakes on horizon


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Nominations were released Tuesday for the Michigan Sire Stakes, the richest night in Michigan racing, which takes place on Oct. 11. A total of 72 offspring of Michigan sires were nominated to the series of six races, each worth an estimated $120,000.

Last year's Michigan horse of the year, Secret Romeo, is back to defend his title against males, 4 years old and up. A 5-year-old horse who has earned nearly $800,000, Secret Romeo will have to face last year's 3-year-old Sire Stakes champion, American Deputy, as well as five other past Sire Stakes winners. Secret Romeo is trained by leading conditioner Gerald Bennett, who has 11 of the day's 72 nominees.

Sefas Rose, owned by Sefa's Farm, is going for a three-peat, as she won the older distaff division Sire Stakes in both 2001 and 2002. A 6-year-old Sefapiano mare, she has two stakes wins this meet. She worked a mile in 1:42 on Tuesday. In her last start, the Farer Belle Lee Stakes on Aug. 29, she was beaten a neck by Tank Grrrl, the 2001 3-year-old Sire Stakes winner who is 2 for 2 at the meet.

* Mary Doser, third in the jockey standings, rode four winners Tuesday. She scored with Just Fred in the second race and Lost in Love in the third. Adrian's Way won the seventh race for Doser and stakes winner Magna Cum Laude won the eighth.

* Last Friday's card was cut short because electrical problems left part of the track dark. Leading rider Freddie Mata won three of the four races on the abbreviated card.