07/27/2003 11:00PM

Megahertz now a Grade 1 winner

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Megahertz scored her first win in a Grade 1 race in Saturday's $400,000 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar, outrunning Tates Creek, Dublino, and Golden Apples, who finished in a three-way dead heat for second.

Making her fourth start in a Grade 1 stakes, Megahertz ($18.40) rallied wide under jockey Alex Solis to reach the front in the final strides.

Megahertz, 4, finished a half-length in front of the trio after 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.09. Voz de Colegiala, who led until early stretch, finished last of five.

Solis had Megahertz, who is trained by Bobby Frankel, closer to the pace than she usually runs. For the first six furlongs, Megahertz raced last, but only three lengths behind Voz de Colegiala, who set a slow pace of 25.15 seconds and 50.20.

Tates Creek, the even-money favorite, passed Voz de Colegiala in early stretch and was challenged in the final furlong by Golden Apples and Dublino. But Megahertz's wide rally prevailed.

Megahertz has won 8 of 21 starts and $1,127,326.

Golden Apples, the 2002 Eclipse Award champion as outstanding turf female, was making her first start of the year. Ridden by Gary Stevens, Golden Apples raced within 1 1/2 lengths of Tates Creek in early stretch, but never reached the front.

"It wasn't a truly run race," Golden Apples's trainer, Ben Cecil, said. "Gary said she was aggressive early on and that probably took something out of her finish."

The stewards needed eight minutes to announce the order of finish. In a photo finish image shown to the public, Solis's body obscured Golden Apple's head, and the photo showed that Dublino and Tates Creek were even. The stewards said they had no choice but to place Golden Apples even with Dublino and Tates Creek.

"We can't definitively say where the horse's nose is," steward Dave Samuel said of Golden Apples.

Bing Crosby: Beau's Town sharp in win

Beau's Town, a winner of major stakes in the South, left no doubt on Saturday that he is equally good in California.

Making his first start on the West Coast, Beau's Town won the $191,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar. The race served as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Oct. 25.

"Every time he's ever moved up to the next level, he's answered the question," co-owner Dave Hulkewicz said. "I needed to find out if he belonged and he does."

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Beau's Town ($12.20) ran six furlongs in 1:07.96 and finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Captain Squire, the 2-1 favorite. Bluesthestandard finished third in the field of nine. Kona Gold, the 2000 champion sprinter, finished fifth.

Valenzuela had Beau's Town in second on the backstretch, chasing 34-1 Giovannetti through an opening quarter-mile in 21.87 seconds. On the turn, Beau's Town took the lead after a half-mile in 44.10 and began to pull away.

"I didn't know he was this fast," said Valenzuela, who rode Beau's Town for the first time.

Captain Squire raced within 1 1/2 lengths of Beau's Town at the eighth pole, but could not make up the difference in the final furlong. "We just ran into a monster," said Jeff Mullins, the trainer of Captain Squire.

Beau's Town gave Southern-based trainer Cole Norman his first California stakes win with his first starter in the state. Beau's Town, 5, has won 10 of 14 starts and $499,400 for owners Hulkewicz and Bobby Beck. Six of the wins have come in stakes races.