A starlet from Beverly Hills will be at Freestate Raceway Saturday night for the $450,000 Lady Baltimore Pace.
Follow My Star, a 2-year-old filly, has won nine of 10 career starts. She has earned $665,786, a harness racing record for her age group.
She is owned by Ridgedale Farms, whose offices are located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles' Beverly Hills.
There are two men responsible for Follow My Star's rise -- Allan Wilk, who discovered her, and Bruce Nickells, who trains her.
Wilk is the principal owner of Ridgedale Farms. In just a few years, he has built Ridgedale into a major breeding operation with more than 500 horses. Last year, Wilk spent $3 million for 75 fillies, one of whom was Follow My Star.
"We didn't think she was anything special," Wilk said of the filly he bought for $30,000. He said the decision to buy her was based on "genetics." Sired by Governor Skipper, Follow My Star was well-bred, in Wilk's opinion.
Wilk turned the filly over to his No. 1 trainer, Nickells, who said that when he began conditioning Follow My Star, "I knew she was good, but I didn't know how good."
The trainer found out in the $1 million Sweetheart Stakes at the Meadowlands July 24.
Driven by top driver John Campbell because Nickells wanted to keep mistakes to a minimum, Follow My Star started from the outside post. Campbell backed off with his filly early in the race and began moving her up at the half, although she stayed in the seventh spot for some time.
With only light urging by Campbell, Follow My Star continued to close and went on to a 3 3/4-length victory in 1:55 to collect the $500,000 first prize.
Nickells said the Lady Baltimore will be an important race for Follow My Star because she contracted a virus and had to be scratched from her last scheduled start, the La Paloma at Yonkers, Aug. 10.
"I haven't been able to do much with her in the last two weeks," he fretted. "She's going into the race a little short."