09/10/2003 11:00PM

Follow Me Home tries to prove latest a fluke


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Follow Me Home, her four-race winning streak stunningly snapped in the Miss Woodford Stakes, hits the comeback trail Saturday afternoon in the $50,000 Joseph Buckelew Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Follow Me Home will face 11 rivals in the five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies.

Trainer Bob Levine still can't figure why Follow Me Home finished a tired fifth in the Miss Woodford after four sparkling efforts.

"I just can't account for that last race," said Levine, who also owns Follow Me Home in partnership with Bob Braunsdorf. "We checked her out head to toe after that race. We found nothing."

Follow Me Home, winner of the Crank It Up, Candy Eclair, and Trenton Stakes, will be making her second grass start. The Crank It Up and the Trenton were scheduled grass races that were moved to the main track.

Follow Me Home's one prior grass try came in the Bob Slater Stakes at Gulfstream Park in April. She ran seventh after setting the early pace. The effort did not discourage Levine.

"I couldn't get a reading on how she liked it," Levine said. "She was going so fast down the backstretch [an opening quarter-mile in 21.29 seconds] that she couldn't make the turn. The jockey had to steady her and she lost momentum."

Follow Me Home appears to have bounced back nicely from the Miss Woodford. She drilled a half-mile in 47.60 on Sunday.

"She seems fine again, like nothing ever happened," Levine said.

Completing the field are Border Bounds, Home Run Hitter, Deacon Lake, Paper Mountain, Six Pack Sally, Our Mariah, Impolite, Glowing Breeze, Belong to Sea, Third Collection, and Trick Again.

Walder might pass Skip Trial with Saucy Cat

Trainer Peter Walder needs to find a race for Saucy Cat, a horse caught in an unusual situation.

Walder hoped for an easy race in the $50,000 Skip Trial Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, but the race got deeper with the presence of Jersey Giant, the third-place finisher in the Iselin Handicap.

Saucy Cat was entered to race Aug. 27 but was declared ineligible. The gelding had been claimed for $16,000 at the Pleasanton Fair on June 28. Even though the Pleasanton meet ended July 6, Saucy Cat remains obligated to the race in California through the conclusion of the fair season in October. The one exception - a stakes race.

That sent Walder hunting for stakes throughout the region.

"If the race comes up light, we'd be tempted to run," Walder said of the Skip Trial. "It's a shame because I really had him ready to run that day in August. I don't think he's as sharp now as he was that day."

There are no guarantees Walder will find an easier stakes race elsewhere.

"To me, it makes more sense to run here against five, even with a couple of tough ones in there, than to ship all the way to Mountaineer," Walder said.

Seattle Glory, Roger E, Farmer Jake, and Abreeze were also entered in the Skip Trial.

Meadowlands offers 19 stakes races

The racing office released the balance of The Meadowlands Racetrack stakes schedule for the meet, which runs Oct. 2 to Nov. 8.

There are only two graded stakes during the shortest meet in the Big M's history - the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 3 and the Grade 3 Violet Handicap on Oct. 17.

There will be at least one stakes race on every Friday and Saturday night. The track will offer 19 stakes worth $1.28 million during the 28-day meet.

"It's a solid stakes schedule for a more compact Meadowlands meet this year," said Bob Kulina, vice president-Thoroughbred racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.

* Trainer Tim Hills swept the early double Thursday with a pair of runners dropping in class. Marco Cat ($9) won the first race for a maiden claiming tag of $10,000. She last ran in maiden special weight company at Calder in December. Sensational Place ($6) also carried a $10,000 tag in the second race, a drop of $6,000 from his previous outing.