04/20/2006 12:00AM

Frankel has two for Santa Barbara

Argentina rallied to finish second in the Santa Ana Handicap, her first U.S. start. An Irish-bred, she was second in last year's French Oaks.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It will be up to Argentina and Eternal Melody to continue trainer Bobby Frankel's winning streak in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita.

For the last three years, Frankel has won the Grade 2 Santa Barbara with the diminutive Megahertz, the only three-time winner of the race for fillies and mares.

Megahertz has been retired, but Frankel may have a suitable replacement in either of his two entrants in the Santa Barbara, which is run at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Both are seeking a first American stakes win, and Frankel feels Argentina is his best chance.

"I think she's the better filly," Frankel said.

Argentina was bred in Ireland and ran in France last year. She was second in the French Oaks and the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.

Argentina finished second in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf March 26, her first start in this country. She rallied from last in a field of eight to finish a half-length behind Silver Cup.

Eternal Melody is owned by Michael Bello, who raced Megahertz. Eternal Melody, who was a stakes winner in New Zealand, has placed in stakes here and at Churchill Downs, and won an allowance race at 1 1/8 miles in her last start in February.

"I don't know if she's as good as the other filly," Frankel said. "Maybe she can finish second."

The Santa Barbara has drawn seven, including the entry of Aubonne and Hallowed Dream, who are both owned by Gary Tanaka.

won the La Zanzara Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turfhere Jan. 27, beating a group that included Eternal Melody. Aubonne returned to run last of eight in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap against males at 1 1/2 miles on turf Feb. 26. Trainer Neil Drysdale dismissed that result.

"She didn't run well. She had a pus pocket in her hind foot," Drysdale said.

Hallowed Dream, who placed in two stakes in Europe last year, including the Group 1 Italian Oaks, is on a three-race winning streak. She has won a maiden race and two allowance races on turf at this meeting at between a mile and 1 1/4 miles.

Trainer Ben Cecil thinks that the second race of that sequence, an allowance race in February, was Hallowed Dream's best performance.

"I thought her best race was when she stumbled and came from off of it," Cecil said of the race. "She likes this turf course, and a mile and a quarter is right up her alley."