Champions collide in Wolverine Stakes

A well-decorated field of 10 will face off in Saturday’s $50,000 Wolverine Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Included among the group are two co-winners of divisional awards from last year’s meet at Pinnacle, one from 2008 and a former Michigan Thoroughbred of the Year at the now-defunct Great Lakes Downs. Each horse in the field has won a stakes race at one or both of those tracks.

The six furlong race for Michigan-bred three-year-olds and upward is the first blacktype challenge for the state’s older male division during Pinnacle’s 2010 meet.

Meadow Wise heads up three entries from trainer Bob Gorham’s barn. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding won last year’s Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle and never missed the board on the way to earning a share of the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s top three-year-old male honors. He enters the Wolverine off a front-running 4 1/2 length score in a June 20 optional claiming event at Pinnacle. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC.

Last year’s Wolverine winner, Fiery Lake, returns to defend his title. The five-year-old Devil His Due gelding was a mainstay in Michigan’s older male division in 2009, with an additional runner-up finish in the Frontier Handicap and a fourth in the Michigan Breeders’ Handicap, both at Pinnacle. Fiery Lake enters the Wolverine off a second place effort in a June 15 optional claimer at Presque Isle Downs, where he closed on the rail to miss by a head. Randy Russell will saddle Fiery Lake for owner Samaron Stable. Ronald Allen, Jr. will venture over from Presque Isle to take the mount.

Well-traveled campaigner Speak Of Kings will make his debut at Pinnacle on Saturday in the Wolverine. The eight-year-old Announce gelding has competed at tracks throughout Kentucky and the Midwest, even venturing down to the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, and has won multiple times on dirt, turf and all-weather surfaces. During one of his occasional stops in Michigan, Speak Of Kings won the 2005 Lansing Stakes at Great Lakes Downs. He comes off a 1 1/4-length victory in a $16,000 claiming race on the turf course at Indiana Downs. J.J. Delgado will have the riding assignment for owners Sam Rogers, Ralph Postoian and Steve Vanovich. Gregory Foley trains Speak Of Kings.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Perfect Start / A Ortiz / S A Adkins / 8-1
2. Fiery Lake / R D Allen, Jr. / R R Russell / 7-2
3. Speak Of Kings / J J Delgado / G D Foley / 5-1
4. Meadow Vespers / R Barrios / R J Rettele / 10-1
5. Bishop Casey / O Bernal / R M Gorham / 20-1
6. Weatherstorm / T Molina / R M Gorham / 15-1
7. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 6-1
8. Meadow Wise / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 5-2
9. Hot Chili / J R Martinez, Jr. / J R Jackson / 12-1
10. Demagoguery / L A Gonzalez / G S Bennett / 15-1

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5 Comments

Filed under Pinnacle Race Course, Stakes Races

5 responses to “Champions collide in Wolverine Stakes

  1. Mary Overman

    Joe – maybe you could find out what happened to Speak of Kings. He was pulled up early. I’m hoping hard that it was nothing too serious or unfixable. I’ve been following him for a long time. After I got the result by e-mail and watched the replay, I called the stewards, then the racing office, but it was after the last race so they may have already closed up for the day. No answer. Thanks so much for anything you are able to find out.

  2. mibredclaimer

    Looking at the replay, he was in a good position early, right near the front. Then he pulled up around the middle of the backstretch. It doesn’t look like he was bothered at all, so he may have taken a bad step or the rider felt something he didn’t like. It’s hard to tell much more than that because the camera is following the race.

    I wasn’t at the track today, so I don’t have any other info at the moment, but if I hear anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  3. Sad to report he broke his ankle in the race and had to be euthanized. This is the horribly tearful side of our business. I’d like to think of all of them running in Heaven Free.

  4. mibredclaimer

    What a shame. We lost a nice one there.

  5. Mary Overman

    Oh, man. Thanks so much, Longshot, for the sad update. I was hoping to follow this guy all the way to his happy retirement from racing and maybe a second career. My condolances to his owners and trainer. A great heart.

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