06/20/2003 11:00PM

Follow Me Home speeds to victory


OCEANPORT, N.J. - A favorable bias and the hottest stakes rider at the meet combined to help Follow Me Home win the $50,000 Crank It Up Stakes Saturday afternoon at Monmouth Park.

While Joe Bravo leads in overall wins, nobody comes close to Julian Pimentel with the big money on the line. The Crank It Up for 3-year-old fillies gave him four stakes wins at this early stage of the meet.

Pimentel bagged his latest stakes victory by playing an overwhelming speed bias to perfection.

Daylong rain once again soaked Monmouth. The Crank It Up was listed at five furlongs on the turf in the stakes directory, but trainers were advised at entry time that it would be shifted to the main track. The sealed, sloppy strip had favored inside speed all afternoon.

"The off-track helped tremendously," said Bob Levine, who trains Follow Me Home. "She loves the slop and she loves five furlongs."

Pimentel hustled Follow Me Home out of the gate, and she engaged in a three-way battle for the lead with Trick Again and Trupon On. Rounding the turn, it became a two-horse race as Trick Again gave up the chase.

Trupon On, with Abdiel Toribio aboard, pulled even with Follow Me Home at the top of the stretch. That was as close as she got as Follow Me Home dug in to gradually pull clear by two lengths.

"I wound up on the lead, and at the quarter pole she just took off again," Pimentel said. "She was game all the way to the wire."

Follow Me Home ($12.20) ran the distance in 57.93 seconds. Trupon On held for second, with 7-10 favorite Uphill Skier third.

* Lake Kinneret ($11) wore down City Fire to capture the $60,000 Post Deb Stakes, the co-feature. She ran the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.13.

Chuckie Lopez rode the winner for trainer Bobby Barnett.