10/03/2007 11:00PM

Old champ resembling former self

EmailMUSKEGON, Mich. - Saturday night's Michigan Sire Stakes is the highlight of the Michigan racing calendar. The six races for the progeny of Michigan stallions will each be worth an estimated $114,000. A special pick six will be offered on the stakes, which all have attracted full fields of 10.

Comeback kid Rockem Sockem heads the older-male division, which will be run as the eighth and final race on the card. Now 6, Rockem Sockem has won 12 races over this track, 11 of them stakes, and reigned as the state's horse of the year from 2003 to 2005. After winning just once last year, he roared back this year with wins in the Michigan Breeders' Cup and Frontier handicaps. A win Saturday would be his third in a Sire Stakes.

Octavio Bernal retains the mount for owner Henry Mast and leading trainer Robert Gorham, who will also saddle Weatherstorm, the top horse in the state last season.

* Trainer Laura Jackson has entered Hot Chili and Mr Professor in the juvenile division. Hot Chili, owned by Sharon Valley Thoroughbred Farm, has won the Little Ones and Patrick Woods stakes this meet.

* Clever Idea won the Sickles Image despite exchanging bumps in the stretch with Temptress winner Equalitysdebutante. The pair will meet again in Saturday's Juvenile Fillies Sire Stakes. Clever Idea, who is trained by Dave Kueffner, holds a 2-1 edge in three meetings with Equalitysdebutante. Freddie Mata will be aboard Clever Idea. Trainer Larry Penner has again named Ricky Knott to ride Equalitysdebutante.

* Valley Loot is a standout in the 3-year-old filly Sales Stakes. She has 4 wins in 5 outings this meeting, with the only loss coming when she stumbled leaving the gate and lost rider Mike Allen. Trained by Ronnie Allen for owner Kimberly Allen, she won the Regret and Plymouth stakes and the Michigan Oaks this year. She was second to champion Dublin Dutchess in last year's Sire Stakes.

* J. P.'s Big Boy will make his first start at Great Lakes Downs as the early favorite in the 3-year-old colts and geldings division. Trained by Scott Sowle, J. P.'s Big Boy has 3 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts, all at Mountaineer Park and Presque Isle Downs, where he won a $74,800 allowance race in his last start. Regular rider Mary Doser will be aboard J. P.'s Big Boy.

* Silent Sunset, Nell's Enjoyment, and Half a Glance are tops in the filly and mare division. Silent Sunset won last month's Farer Belle Lee Handicap for trainer Joe Lewis, who co-owns the horse with his wife, Diane. Jareth Loveberry has the return ride.

Nell's Enjoyment, last year's 3-year-old champion at Great Lakes Downs after her win in the Sire Stakes, was beaten a nose in the Farer Belle Lee. Leading rider Tommy Molina will ride for owner-trainer-breeder Shane Spiess.

Half a Glance was third in the Farer Belle Lee after winning the Moonbeam Handicap in July. Doser has the mount.