01/17/2015 8:26PM

Fanticola holds off rivals to win Megahertz

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ARCADIA, Calif. – For his first ride on Fanticola in Saturday’s $81,250 Megahertz Stakes, jockey Martin Garcia concocted a familiar strategy – take the mare to the lead.

Fanticola had not set the pace in her last five starts, since the 2014 Megahertz, a race in which she finished second after being caught in the stretch.

This time, no one was able to catch Fanticola. Holding off a late threat from Blingismything and Rusty Slipper, Fanticola ($16.20) won the Megahertz Stakes over a mile on turf by a half-length over the 7-1 Blingismything, finishing in 1:35.11.

“She hasn’t been that lucky to get the early lead like she did today,” Garcia said, walking away from the winner’s circle. “I was pretty confident.”

Garcia replaced Joe Talamo on Fanticola after Talamo stayed with Nashoba’s Gold, who was returning from a layoff of more than seven months.

Fanticola set early fractions of 23.86 seconds and 48.13 for the first half-mile, holding a lead of as many as two lengths.

The lead was down to a half-length with a furlong to go, but Fanticola held off her rivals.

Blingismything finished a neck in front of Rusty Slipper, who was followed by Winning Rhythm, Floral Romance, Industrial Policy, Magnificent Shirl, Bee Brave, Nashoba’s Gold, and Oscar Party.

Nashoba’s Gold, who won two graded stakes for 3-year-old fillies in 2014, was sixth after a half-mile but was not a factor late as the 2-1 favorite.

Fanticola races for Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino and trainer Phil D’Amato. A 5-year-old mare by the Sunday Silence stallion Silent Name, Fanticola has won 4 of 13 starts and earned $248,800. The Megahertz Stakes was the first start for Fanticola since a third in the Sen. Ken Maddy Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs Nov. 1.