10/16/2008 11:00PM

Sire Stakes draw the best of Michigan


NEW BOSTON, Mich. - The Michigan Sire Stakes, which started in 1985 as a pair of juvenile stakes for the progeny of Michigan stallions, returns to the Detroit metropolitan area for the first time since Detroit Race Course closed in 1998 when Pinnacle Race Course hosts the series on Saturday.

The six races, with projected purses of $120,000 each, will be run as the third through eighth races on a card that starts at 1:35 p.m. Eastern. The Sire Stakes were held at the now closed Great Lakes Downs in western Michigan from 1999 through 2007.

Valley Loot, who won the 3-year-old fillies Sire Stakes last year, kicks off the party when she faces six fillies and mares in the older distaff division. A Demaloot Demashoot filly, she races for Pinnacle CEO Felicia Campbell, and has won the Larkspur and the Farer Belle Lee handicaps this meet. In three campaigns, she has been worse than third only once. Regular jockey Mike Allen, who missed her last start, the Farer Belle Lee, returns to ride for his father, trainer Ronnie Allen.

Among Valley Loot's rivals are Silent Sunset, a homebred owned by Joe and Diane Lewis and trained by Joe Lewis. She was second to Valley Loot in her last out, the Farer Belle Lee. Half a Glance, third that day, beat Valley Loot earlier this meet in the Moonbeam Handicap.

* Clever Idea has won the Michigan Oaks and finished second in the Ann Arbor Oak this meet. She will face six foes in the 3-year-old fillies Sire Stakes. Clever Idea is owned by Steve Prain and trained by Dave Kueffner. Ricardo Barrios gets a return call.

* Equally Good, Hot Chili, and Bipolar Express have exchanged punches throughout the meet with the first two winning stakes here. Equally Good won the opening day Lansing Stakes on July 18, lost his next two starts, then tuned up for this 3-year-old Sire Stakes with a good allowance score on Oct. 3, earning an 88 Beyer figure. Owned by Henry Mast, Equally Good is from the barn of leading trainer Bob Gorham. Barrios has a return ride in the eight-horse field.

* Gorham has a trio in the 2-year-old fillies race, which drew a field of 12. Ittybittymeadow, owned by Marion Gorham, won the Sickle's Image Stakes after winning her maiden by 10 lengths under Barrios, who will be back aboard Saturday.

Leading rider Terry Houghton returns aboard Mast's Skyline Star, who was beaten a length by her stablemate in the Sickle's Image. Gorham also entered Jig Is Up Now.

* Trainer Sandra Adkins and owner Charlie Williams have three of the 12 2-year-old males in the seventh race, including probable favorite Mr. Conclusive. An undefeated Elusive Hour colt, Mr. Conclusive was a handy six-length winner of the Patrick Wood Stakes under Houghton, who gets a return ride.

Adkins also entered Elusive Furrari, fourth in the Wood, and Weepster, who finished last as the favorite in the Wood following a troubled start. Native Coaster, a troubled third in the Wood, will run for owner John Reading and trainer Bob Wood.

* Meadow Vespers, the probable favorite in the older male division, is looking for his fourth consecutive Sire Stakes win for owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele. He was beaten a nose in the Frontier last out while giving Rockem Sockem nine pounds. Winless in three stakes tries this meet, he will not have to give away weight Saturday to his six rivals. Ivan Gonzalez gets a return call.

Rockem Sockem, who had fallen off the radar before upsetting the Frontier, is looking for his third Sire Stakes win in the tough series finale. Trainer Scott Sowle claimed the

7-year-old past state champion for $50,000 in May at Presque Isle Downs for owner Charles Everett. Mary Doser again rides.