03/20/2005 12:00AM

Megahertz last-to-first in Santa Ana


ARCADIA, Calif. - Even though she already is a Grade 1 winner, and is now 6 years old, the connections of Megahertz have decided to keep her in training for another year. Those who thrill to the pint-sized mare's last-to-first charges, including trainer Bobby Frankel, are filled with gratitude.

Megahertz put on another spectacular show on Sunday, when she roared past all six of her rivals in the final quarter-mile to take the Grade 2, $150,000 at Santa Anita. The victory was an emotional one for Frankel, who started to tear up after the race, and jockey Alex Solis, who is close friends with owner Michael Bello and ranks Megahertz as one of his favorite mounts.

"I'm very fortunate to be here," said Solis, who had not ridden Megahertz since April. He was out from July until earlier this year with a fractured back. "It feels good to be back on her, and I think she probably feels the same way as I do."

"She's got to be one of my favorites," Frankel said. "She's so little. She does things that amaze you all the time. I love all my horses, don't get me wrong, but this one is incredible. She gets so far back, you think she's got no chance, and then here she comes."

Megahertz ($4.60) was nearly 10 lengths behind after six furlongs in 1:12.21. But her wicked turn of foot got her to the front with 70 yards to go, and she maintained a half-length margin from there to the wire. She completed 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.95, meaning she completed her final three furlongs in about 34 seconds.

Katdogawn finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Valentine Dancer, the early pacesetter.

Megahertz finished first in last year's Santa Ana with Victor Espinoza subbing for Solis, who was in Dubai, but she was disqualified to last for crossing over and wracking up the field. Solis returned in time for a victory in the Santa Barbara Handicap, which they had won in 2003, too. Megahertz may go for a Santa Barbara three-peat on April 17, Frankel said.

Solis will be back aboard.

"He knows her. He knows she lugs in when she makes the lead," Frankel said.

Megahertz, a daughter of Pivotal, has now won 11 times in 29 starts.

"She's better than last year," Solis said.