08/26/2002 12:00AM

Dublino noses Megahertz in Del Mar Oaks

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Dublino held off a late surge from Megahertz to win an epic running of the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday. At the finish, a scant nose separated the two top

3-year-old turf fillies in California.

For Dublino, the victory avenged a disqualification in the American Oaks at Hollywood Park last month when she was demoted from first to second for interfering with runner-up Megahertz in the stretch.

There was no controversy in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux for a partnership and trainer Laura de Seroux, Dublino ($4.60) covered 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.16.

Dublino and Megahertz were well off the pace for much of the race, chasing Fair Bianca, who led Alozaina in second-place by a length, setting fractions of 23.84 and 47.91 seconds.

On the second turn, Dublino challenged the leaders and reached contention by the eighth pole. Racing wide, Dublino took the lead with a sixteenth of a mile remaining,. and was all out to hold off Megahertz, who ralled on the inside between Alozaina and Fair Bianca.

"I didn't know it was that close," de Seroux said. "Dublino got to the front and she eased up a little bit. Megahertz is tough."

Alozaina held third, followed by Fair Bianca, Arabic Song, and Ristra.

Dublino has won 2 of 4 starts and $303,994. The Del Mar Oaks was the first start in a Grade 1 for Megahertz, who won four stakes this year before stepping up into the American Oaks.