06/17/2006 12:00AM

Rockem Sockem goes after repeat


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Rockem Sockem, the 2005 Michigan horse of the year, heads a field of 10 Michigan-bred runners in Monday's $50,000 Wolverine Handicap, a six-furlong race he won last year.

Rockem Sockem, a 5-year-old trained by Robert Gorham, will face Dangel and Above the Wind, the second- and third-place finishers in last year's Wolverine. Rockem Sockem rallied to just miss in his seasonal debut on May 6, but rebounded in his last start on May 22 and was up in time to win an optional claiming race. In six starts at Great Lakes last year, Rockem Sockem won twice and was second four times. In addition to the Wolverine, he won a $144,000 division of the Michigan Sire Stakes.

Leading rider Terry Houghton will once again be aboard Rockem Sockem, an earner of more than $400,000 who is the second choice on the track's morning line at 7-2. He will carry 121 pounds.

The high weight, at 124 pounds, is Above the Wind, a 9-year-old Island Whirl gelding trained by Ronnie Allen. Above the Wind wintered at Tampa Bay Downs, making five starts there in stakes. He won the Pelican Stakes in January and, in his most recent start, finished third in the $75,000 Hilton Garden Inn Sprint. Above the Wind, a winner of just under $500,000, has been installed as the 5-2 favorite. Lyndon Hannigan will ride.

Allen will also saddle Its His Time, who if not for a bumping incident and disqualification in last year's Mackinac Handicap would be looking for his fifth straight win. He opened his season with an easy victory against allowance foes here on June 6 under jockey Mike Allen, son of the trainer, who retains the mount.

Dangel is winless in six starts since finishing second in the Wolverine last year.