05/22/2001 11:00PM

Secret Romeo back in Michigan


MUSKEGON, MICH - Secret Romeo, the top 2-year-old colt at Great Lakes Downs last season, heads a field of 10 3-year-old colts and geldings in the $45,000 Lansing Stakes here on Friday's card, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Central.

Secret Romeo is owned by the AAC Stable of A.A. Catenacci and trained by Gerald Bennett. A son of Service Stripe, Secret Romeo won the Michigan Futurity and the Patrick Wood Stakes at last year's meeting, when trained by his breeder, James Jackson.

Secret Romeo wintered and raced twice in Arkansas in Bennett's stable, winning an allowance race and running sixth in the $100,000 Grade 3 Rebel, the major prep for the $500,000 Arkansas Derby.

He was sent to Sportsman's Park on April 21, and captured a $50,000 stakes. Then he returned to Great Lakes and scored handily in a Michigan-bred allowance race May 7.

Terry Houghton, aboard for Secret Romeo's last two wins, will ride from post 5 in the six-furlong Lansing.

Island N Abreeze, owned by Sefa's Farm, was second to Secret Romeo in his last start and third to that one in his Sportsman's stakes win.

The Sefapiano colt won the Graduate Stakes here last October and was second to Secret Romeo in the Michigan Futurity. Island N Abreeze, trained by Brenda Hill, will have the services of leading rider Freddie Mata and will break from the rail.

Facing those two, from the inside out, are Twice Striped, Janell Gruss in the irons; Blackstone Dreamer, Luis J. Martinez; Playboy Walker, Rafael Estrella; Tu Tone Brown, Felipe Santos; Soaring Hawk, Luis Martinez, Jr.; Salty Watter, Carl Williams; Mellon's Gift, Louis Stokes; and Magic Spark, Nicholas Meza.