Follow My Star again dominated a field of fillies to win the John Miller Memorial at Rosecroft Raceway late Saturday night. It was her 15th victory in 16 attempts over pacers of her sex. Her owner now feels it's time to go after colts.
"I think every so often a filly comes along that's kind of special, and you never know if she can compete against the boys unless you try it," said Allan Wilk, the principal owner of Ridgedale Farms of Beverly Hills, Calif., which owns Follow My Star.
Maryland fans may be the first to see this confrontation. "I think there's a substantial chance, if she . . . comes up sound going into next month, the first one we could take a shot at would be the Terrapin [at Freestate Raceway on June 7]," said Wilk, who purchased Follow My Star for $30,000.
No filly ever has raced in the Terrapin. By making additional nomination payments, Wilk can make Follow My Star eligible for the Terrapin, rather than Freestate's filly race, the Turtle Dove.
Wilk says that money is not the major factor in deciding to race Follow My Star against colts, even though open stakes races carry a higher value than those restricted to fillies. It probably would be tougher for the filly to win a portion of the purse racing against colts than fillies.
"If she's as special as we think she is, it would certainly do a lot for the industry during the year to pick our spots and race her against the colts. And if she does well in any of those events, it might bring a lot more interest in harness racing," Wilk said. "Occasionally, an owner has to go for it, even though it's not the smartest thing from a financial standpoint. He has to give something back to the sport."
But trainer Bruce Nickells is hesitant.
"I'm not in favor of it," said Nickells, who said most of the best colts have not yet started their 3-year-old seasons and that racing Follow My Star against them later this year might be "looking for trouble."
Rosecroft bettors did not anticipate any trouble for Follow My Star in the Miller Saturday. She was bet down to 1-to-20 and a total of $149,917 was wagered on her to show.
Follow My Star responded to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Dream Magic in 1:58 4/5. The heavy betting on Follow My Star also made it a big night for Rosecroft as a track record $948,215 was wagered on the 12-race card. The previous record was $898,161, set last November.