11/07/2002 12:00AM

Megahertz has late burst


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - From front-runners to stalkers to closers, trainer Bobby Frankel has it covered in Saturday's $125,000 Matiara Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Frankel has three of the 10 3-year-old fillies entered in the turf race to be run at 1 1/8 miles. All of his starters are stakes winners. The front-running Nunatall won the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga in July. Kithira, who can stalk the pace or lead, won a division of the Ramser Handicap at Santa Anita last month. However, neither are as talented as the late-running Megahertz.

Megahertz has won five stakes this year, including the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap here in June. She later finished second in the American Oaks, but was promoted to first after the disqualification of Dublino.

Even though she finished sixth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 12, Megahertz is a standout in the Matiara Stakes. At Keeneland, Megahertz closed from the back of the field, but rallied along an unfavorable rail through the stretch and was beaten eight lengths by winner Riskaverse.

The Queen Elizabeth race was run over a good turf course, and similar conditions may exist on Saturday. Rain was forecast for Southern California on Friday.

There are three other stakes winners in the Matiara field - Company B, Secret Garden, and Sentimental Value - but none have won graded stakes.

Company B won the Fanueil Hall Stakes at Calder in August and was second to Sentimental Value in a division of the Ramser Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 14. Secret Garden won the October Stakes at Ascot in England on Oct. 12 and will make her U.S. debut in the Matiara Stakes. Of the others, Alozaina has run well on this turf course. She finished third in the American Oaks, but is winless in three subsequent races, including a fourth-place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup after leading on the final turn.

"I think she handled the wet turf all right," trainer Ron McAnally said.

Sentimental Value gave trainer Kristin Mulhall her first stakes winner last month in the Ramser Handicap. She said she would not hesitate to run Sentimental Value on the main track if the weather worsens.

Sentimental Value did win at 1 1/8 miles in England earlier this year, and finished well in the one-mile Ramser.

"I'd rather be going a mile" Mulhall said. "She finished really strong."

She will need that sort of performance to challenge Megahertz.

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