Michigan’s stakes scene is nothing new for Meadow Vespers.
The seven-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding has been a mainstay in the state’s top ranks since his Sire Stakes-winning two-year-old campaign at Great Lakes Downs.
Four straight Sire Stakes victories later, Meadow Vespers will begin his march toward a fifth Fall Showcase win in Saturday’s $50,000 Wolverine Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.
Last year’s champion older male enters the six furlong Wolverine off a deep closing June 6 allowance win at Pinnacle in his first start since last October’s Sire Stakes. In the allowance effort, he beat many of the rivals he will face on Sunday, including Demagoguery, Hot Chili, and Weatherstorm, who finished second through fourth respectively.
Meadow Vespers is owned by J. Mack Enterprise, Inc. and trained by Richard Rettele. Regular rider Ivan Gonzalez will be in the saddle.
The 2008 Sire Stakes winner in the three-year-old male division is also entered Saturday. Bipolar Express, a four-year-old Equality gelding, comes off a third place effort in a June 16 optional claimer at Mountaineer. He is owned by Gene and Phyllis Gilmore and trained by Gerald Bennett. Faith Schorr comes in from Presque Isle Downs to take the mount.
Stepping up to face older foes is three-year-old Juggle. The Elusive Hour colt comes off a win in the June 13 Lansing Stakes at Pinnacle against fellow three-year-olds. Juggle is one of three horses entered in the Wolverine by owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trainer Robert Gorham.
Despite coming off a stakes victory, a rider was not named for Juggle at the time the race drew. Pinnacle-based jockeys without a mount in the Wolverine include Wilkin Ortiz, Lizetta Cedeno, Glenmore Mayhew and Leonard Frazzitta, Jr.. A visiting rider from another track could be a possibility as well.
Here are the entries for Saturday’s race…
#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Bishop Casey / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 15-1
2. Hot Chili / R Barrios / J R Jackson / 8-1
3. Lil Perfect Storm / R L Knott / D D Waite / 20-1
4. It’s a Ego Thing / A O Stanley / R R Russell / 7-2
5. Bipolar Express / F Schorr / G S Bennett / 5-1
6. Demagoguery / G Laurente / G S Bennett / 15-1
7. Fiery Lake / J J Delgado / E Griffin / 15-1
8. All I Can Get / F Mata / G S Bennett / 8-1
9. Meadow Vespers / I R Gonzalez / R J Rettele / 2-1
10. Juggle / No Rider / R M Gorham / 15-1
11. Weatherstorm / A A Marin / R M Gorham / 12-1
Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap
After successful campaigns at ages two and three, Senorita Tres will look to continue her dominance in year cuatro in Sunday’s $18,000 Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap at Mount Pleasant Meadows.
The four-year-old Tres Seis filly enters the 350-yard race off a third place effort in the Indiana Downs Classic Stakes on May 23 at Indiana Downs. Owned by Walter Harrison and trained by Carol Rettele, Senorita Tres will be ridden by Richard Rettele.
Also entered is MPM Spring Stakes winner Hez Flyin With Class. Owned by Ivy Lane Racing and trained by Renee Wilson, the six-year-old Strawflyin Buds gelding found the winner’s circle in his last start at Mount Pleasant Meadows, winning the May 24 Spring Sprint by a half length.
Hez Flyin With Class is the second part of an entry with fellow Ajax Downs-based Ivy Lane horse Rio Rojo Jess. The five-year-old Feature Mr Jess gelding (a paint!) will be ridden by Nate Alcala.
Here are the entries for Sunday’s race…
#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Shakem Otis 123 / L Gates / J Hall / 6-1
1A. Streakin Joe 123 / J Veltman / J Hall / 6-1
2. Rio Rojo Jess / N Alcala / R Wilson / 4-1
2B. Hez Flyin With Class / O Delgado / R Wilson / 4-1
3. Doc Holiday 123 / J F Delgado / A F Cunningham / 10-1
4. Senorita Tres / R Rettele / C Rettele / 7-5
5. Bye Bye Cartel / A Keller / N Bishop / 12-1