09/30/2009 11:00PM

Michigan Sire Stakes lures best of the crop


NEW BOSTON, Mich. - Meadow Vespers seeks his fifth straight Michigan Sire Stakes victory Saturday when Pinnacle Race Course presents the biggest day on the Michigan racing calendar. The six races, each worth an estimated $50,000, are for the progeny of Michigan stallions.

The series starts with the third race on the card, which begins at 2 p.m. Eastern, a new post time which will stay in effect through Oct. 19, the end of the Pinnacle season.

Meadow Vespers, a 7-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding from the Richard Rettele barn, is 4 for 4 in the Sire Stakes and has 1 win and 2 thirds in stakes this meet, along with an allowance win. Last out, he was third in the Frontier Stakes after finding room to rally late.

Jose J. Delgado retains the mount for owner J. Mack Enterprise Inc. Rettele has also entered Mt. Factor, with Alexis Ortiz named to ride.

Bipolar Express won the Sire Stakes last year as a 3-year-old, with Terry Houghton aboard. Trainer Gerald Bennett just claimed Bipolar Express back for $35,000 after losing him for $25,000 at Presque Isle Downs in August. Houghton will be reunited with Bipolar Express for the Sire Stakes.

* Valley Loot, upset by a head last month in the Farer Belle Lee Handicap, faces eight rivals in the Distaff. Last year's horse of the year at Pinnacle, Valley Loot has a local record of 3-2-1 in six starts, including the Sire Stakes last year. She also won as a 3-year-old at Great Lakes Downs. Regular jockey Freddie Mata will ride for trainer Ronnie Allen and owner Felicia Campbell, who is the CEO of Pinnacle.

* Trainer Robert Gorham, who has won 75 races through Tuesday's racing, more than twice as many as his nearest competitor, has the favorites for the 3-year-old races.

Meadow Wise had won three straight races here, including the Dowling Stakes, before being beaten by the talented but Sire Stakes ineligible Perfect Start in his last out, the Mackinac Handicap. Henry Mast is the owner of Meadow Wise, who will be ridden by Jeffrey Skerrett, the meet's top jockey.

* Baba Booyah is Gorham's representative in the Sophomore Fillies. Owned by Marion Gorham, Baba Booyah has won her last two starts, including the Michigan Oaks, with Skerrett in the irons.

* Juvenile favorite Prince of Paulie is 2 for 3 here, having won the Patrick Wood Stakes last month. Owned by John Mack, Prince of Paulie will again be ridden by Delgado.

* Hustle Now, the favorite in the Juvenile Fillies, is 3 for 3 here after having won the Sickles Image Stakes. Larry Uelmen trains the Sheffield Farms homebred, who is to be ridden by regular pilot Angel Stanley.