05/27/2005 11:00PM

Gamely has gotten crowded

Miss Terrible takes the CompUSA Turf Mile at Churchill last out.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The absence of Megahertz from the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap on Monday at Hollywood Park was supposed to make the grass race easier for the fillies and mares that did enter.

But with Megahertz out - 124 pounds is more than her trainer, Bobby Frankel, was willing to accept - the 1 1/8-mile Gamely got messy.

"If [Megahertz] ran, it would be a five-horse field and you'd have a chance to be second or third [in a Grade 1]," lamented Sandy Shulman, trainer of Grade 3 winner Uraib. "Now you have nine horses and, sure, you have a chance to win, but you have to pass a lot of horses."

All of them must pass 10-for-13 front-runner Miss Terrible, who returned this season after 1 1/2 years on the shelf to win successive Grade 3 stakes. Bradley Ross trains Miss Terrible, who comes off a victory in the CompUSA Turf Mile on May 7 at Churchill Downs.

starts as the 118-pound highweight in the Gamely, worth an estimated $461,500, and she will face an early challenge from Mea Domina.

Trainer Ron McAnally said "is a little bit hard to rate," and while a contested pace may foil the front-runners, McAnally and owner-breeder Janis Whitham could still win the race with Mea Domina's late-running entrymate, Solar Echo.

"Solar Echo is better going a distance," McAnally said, adding that her chances depend on "if she's fit enough." Runner-up in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks two summers ago, has finished first or second in seven starts, but has only two races, both sprints, under her belt this year.

The field also includes Nadeszhda, runner-up to Megahertz last out; Amorama, upset winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last year but winless in 10 other U.S. starts; recent allowance winner Flip Flop; former star Island Fashion; and Halo Ola, a Group 1 winner from Argentina making her U.S. debut.

The Gamely is the first of Hollywood's two Grade 1 turf races for fillies and mares, preceding the June 25 Beverly Hills at 1 1/4 miles, a distance that suits Nadeszhda better than the 1 1/8 miles of the Gamely. Imported from Europe last year, Nadeszhda has steadily improved in four U.S. starts for trainer Neil Drysdale.

Nadeszhda was the 6-5 program favorite in an allowance race May 8, but coughed the morning of the race and did not run.

"We put her on antibiotics for three or four days and that was it," Drysdale said. "She didn't miss any training."

While Drysdale expressed concern that "the distance is a little short," it does not preclude Nadeszhda from victory. She finished a good third racing nine furlongs against males one start back. Julio Garcia rides the 5-year-old Nadeszhda.

Jockey Alex Solis, the regular rider for both Megahertz and Miss Terrible, was caught in a switch. After he committed to Megahertz, trainer Bradley Ross named Mike Smith to ride Miss Terrible. Megahertz defected, so Solis ends up on Flip Flop.

Flip Flop scored an impressive U.S. debut win, and originally was meant to skip the Gamely and wait for the Beverly Hills. Flip Flop, a listed stakes winner last year in France, jumped into the race only after Megahertz came out.

The field

The Gamely Breeeders' Cup Handicap
Purse: $461,500; 1 1/8 miles, turf; Grade 1

2AmoramaR. Douglas11610-1
3a-Mea Domina T. Baze1154-1
4Flip FlopA. Solis1146-1
5Miss TerribleM. Smith1183-1
6Island FashionC. Nakatani1168-1
7Halo OlaJ. Valdivia11510-1
8a-Solar Echo D. Flores1164-1
9UraibG. Gomez11312-13

(a) - Coupled
* Odds by Mike Hammersly