08/20/2003 11:00PM

Follow Me Home brings versatility to stakes

Email

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Follow Me Home can accomplish a feat rarely achieved at Monmouth Park: four stakes victories by one horse in a summer meet.

Follow Me Home tries for a fifth win overall this meet as she tops the field in the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs Saturday.

The Miss Woodford and the $50,000 Decathlon Stakes are the supporting stakes on Iselin Day.

Follow Me Home blossomed on the return to Monmouth following a winter in Florida. She won an allowance race at the end of May before reeling off stakes wins in the Crank it Up, the Candy Eclair, and the Trenton.

"Perhaps the change of climate had something to do with it," said trainer Robert Levine. "She seemed to be less nervous and more relaxed. The jockey could rate her better. She has the talent, it was just a matter of her putting it all together."

She has won on surfaces ranging from muddy to fast and at distances of five and six furlongs to emerge as the queen of the local 3-year-old filly main-track sprinters.

Follow Me Home seems poised to continue the streak.

"She's coming up to it good," said Levine. "We're hopeful. We're stretching out to six furlongs from five. She's won at six before, so I think she'll run well."

Levine co-owns Follow Me Home with Robert Braunsdorf, a partnership that dates back to 1962.

"It's amazing," Levine said. "We've never had a fight. We've had discussions about where to place a horse or what to buy or what not to buy."

Completing the field are Wild Snitch, Our Mariah, Travelator, Catsuit, Home Run Hitter, Belong to Sea, and entry of Randaroo and Elegant Designer.

Shuman objects to vet actions

Mark Shuman, the meet's leading trainer, and the Monmouth stewards engaged in a heated argument in the aftermath of the eighth race Wednesday.

Cahill Kid, trained by Shuman for leading owner Michael Gill, held a clear lead heading for home as the even-money favorite. The horse suddenly slowed to a walk in the lane before collapsing. Jockey Jose C. Ferrer jumped off and escaped injury.

The stewards ordered Cahill Kid to the testing barn to draw blood and urine samples after the state veterinarians revived the horse, a victim of apparent heat exhaustion.

That decision angered Shuman, who felt a sample should have been pulled before the vets administered medications and that any testing could delay needed treatment.

"I have no I idea what they administered," Shuman said. "Under trainer-responsibility rules, I am the absolute insurer of the integrity of every horse that runs in my name."

State steward Sam Boulmetis Jr. defended the process.

"The veterinarians first responsibility is the welfare of the horse," he said. "Anything administered is listed on a treatment slip and would not affect the testing one iota."