06/08/2005 11:00PM

Ack Ack distance looks just right for top two


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The odd distance of 7 1/2 furlongs for Saturday's $75,000 Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park is the ideal middle ground for top contenders Congrats and Ender's Shadow.

Congrats, who in his last start finished fifth in the $6 million Dubai World Cup March 26, was not ready for the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on June 18, trainer Richard Mandella said.

"I didn't have a chance to give him a couple of miles," Mandella said, referring to workout distances. "I don't think I've got him ready enough to go traveling. I think I have him ready for 7 1/2 furlongs."

Ender's Shadow was tried over 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 14 and finished a game second to Ace Blue, losing by a head. Trainer Jenine Sahadi wants to shorten up Ender's Shadow with the hope that he will end an eight-race losing streak.

"He can run only a mile or a mile and a sixteenth," Sahadi said. "I won't run him a mile and an eighth or farther again. When I run him farther, he falls apart."

Ender's Shadow led in the Mervyn LeRoy, but Sahadi does not expect those tactics to be in place in the Ack Ack Handicap. Even though he is a front-runner, Ender's Shadow "will pass a horse," she said. "He inherits the lead because he's fastest of the bunch."

Congrats can stalk the pace or rally from the back. He was near the front when he won the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap in the slop at Santa Anita in January, but rallied from eighth behind a quick pace to finish a game second in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March.

In the Dubai World Cup, Congrats finished 12 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Roses in May. He was at the back of the field early and had his best placing at the wire. Jockey Tyler Baze told Mandella after the race that Congrats had a poor start.

Megahertz headed for Beverly Hills, or Belmont

Megahertz, the top turf mare in California, will be pointed for the $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on June 25 or the $250,000 New York Handicap at Belmont Park on July 2 after passing Saturday's Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Bobby Frankel said that Megahertz is "100 percent. She's fine." She was held out of the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 31 because Frankel was unhappy with the weights.

Frankel said he would have two horses entered in the Whittingham - Continuously and Vangelis. Both are trying to shake out of lengthy slumps. Continuously was promoted from second to first in the 2003 Hollywood Turf Cup, but has lost seven subsequent starts, three of which were runner-up finishes in graded stakes.

Vangelis, a group stakes winner in France, is winless in five starts in this country, and was second in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 14.

Early American Oaks invites go out

Silver Cup, the winner of the Italian 1000 Guineas in Rome on May 15, has been invited to the $750,000 American Oaks on July 3, according to Hollywood Park's racing secretary, Martin Panza.

Silver Cup joins Three Degrees, the winner of the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap last Sunday; Melhor Ainda, winner of the Sands Point Handicap at Belmont last Sunday; and two Japan-based fillies, Cesario and Dia de la Nova, as early invitees to the American Oaks.

The rest of the field will be announced later this month.

* Rock Hard Ten resumed jogging at Santa Anita this week after having his training interrupted by body soreness in the last month. Trained by Mandella, Rock Hard Ten has not started since winning the Santa Anita Handicap. Mandella has mentioned the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at the Oak Tree meeting in early October as a goal.