06/27/2001 11:00PM

Great Lakes: That Gift favored


MUSKEGON, MIich. - That Gift, a Michigan champion at ages 2 and 3, will be favored in Saturday's $45,000 Wolverine Stakes at Great Lakes Downs. The Wolverine, at seven furlongs, drew a full field of 10 Michigan-bred runners, including last year's older champion, It's a Sweep, the 2000 Mackinac Handicap winner Above the Wind, and the hard-knocking 9-year-old Pongo Boy.

That Gift is owned by Delphine Miller and trained by her husband, Bob Miller. Bob Miller was an offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions in the 1950's when they won three NFL crowns. The Millers bred That Gift on their Michigan farm.

The front-running That Gift has won nine of 11 local starts with a second and a third. Last year he accounted for the Grand Rapids Stakes, the Lansing Stakes, and the Spartan Handicap before scoring a repeat win in the Michigan Sire Stakes. He won an allowance race here June 4 in his only 2001 start. His earnings of $306,175 include $297,715 earned at this track. Regular rider Terry Houghton will be aboard That Gift, who drew the outside post.

Above the Wind has won both of his starts this year, a pair of local allowance races, and may be ready to test That Gift, whom he hasn't faced since last July. Rafael Estrella rides Above the Wind, who is trained by Ronnie Allen.

Pongo Boy merits a mention here. Though winless in two years, the Larry Uelmen-trained veteran has 13 second-place finishes over this track, including a runner-up spot in last year's Michigan Sire Stakes. Pongo Boy will be ridden by Louis Stokes.