Updated on 09/16/2011 6:38AM

Forty on Line faces tough pair

Benoit & Associates
Forty on Line wired the Miesque but her trainer, Bob Hess Jr. says the filly doesn't need to lead.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Forty on Line, the winner of the $200,000 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, is taking a pay cut to face a tougher field in Wednesday's $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita.

* won the Grade 3 Miesque in a 20-1 upset, but must face two highly respected European shippers trained by Bobby Frankel in the Blue Norther - Nunatall and Megahertz.

Nunatall was entered for the Miesque Stakes but was scratched the day of the race. She has worked steadily through December for the Blue Norther, which is run over a mile for 3-year-old fillies. On reputation, Nunatall is the filly who Forty on Line must beat, according to Forty on Line's trainer, Bob Hess Jr.

"It's not an easy race," Hess said. "With Nunatall in there, it's tougher than the $200,000."

Forty on Line led throughout the Miesque Stakes, winning by a length. It is not a vital strategy, Hess said. In a maiden win over a mile on this course in October, Forty on Line stalked the pace to midstretch and won by a head.

"A lot of people say she was lucky in the Miesque, but you can't hold that against her," Hess said. "She couldn't be more versatile. Whatever they don't do, she'll do."

Forty on Line drew post 4, which should give jockey Corey Nakatani plenty of options. The Blue Norther has drawn eight runners, but only Forty on Line is a graded stakes winner.

There are three other runners from the Miesque Stakes in the field. La Martina, who finished fourth, is the most logical contender of the trio. The winner of the restricted Hidden Light Stakes over a mile here in October, La Martina did not have a clear run through the final quarter-mile of the Miesque and lost by 2 1/2 lengths.

Farda Amiga and Red Little Lies, who were fifth and seventh in the Miesque, will be longshots in the Blue Norther.

Forty on Line figures to be a slight favorite, but Nunatall will be strongly supported. She won her maiden race in her third start, against males at Deauville, France on Aug. 24. In her previous start, she finished second to Haimonnous, who later was stakes-placed in France.

Megahertz, Frankel's other starter, will be a longer price. A winner of one race in eight starts, Megahertz, was third in a minor stakes in France in September and won a race for claimers over a mile at Deauville in late August.


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