10/25/2004 11:00PM

Megahertz plays catch-up


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - More than two inches of rain fell over the local area on Monday evening, leaving the condition of the grass course a giant question mark for Saturday's Filly and Mare Turf.

Bobby Frankel, who will send out the uncoupled pair of Light Jig and Megahertz in the Filly and Mare Turf, is among the trainers who would prefer to see firm ground by Saturday.

"I don't think Megahertz likes it wet," Frankel said. "I'm not really sure if Light Jig handles it or not. She's never run over a wet course since I've had her, but I'd rather not have it wet for either filly."

Megahertz was a troubled fifth in the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf and has not started since finishing a late-striding second in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 31. She worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 over the main track at Hollywood Park on Tuesday.

"She's on a bit of a tight schedule," said Frankel. "It was pretty much a last-minute decision to run her in the Breeders' Cup, and I sort of rushed her to make the race. But she's doing well and I don't think she needs all that much work, since she pretty much gallops along the first part of it."

Frankel said Megahertz's performance in last year's Filly and Mare Turf was better than it might appear on paper.

"She really dropped out of it after crossing the dirt course and getting hit in the face by all the dirt flying up," Frankel said. "But she finished strong and wasn't beaten far for third. In another jump or two she gets by [fourth-place finisher] Heat Haze. It might be better she's coming in fresh, and the mile and three-eighths could also be a plus."

Light Jig comes into the race off the best performance of her career, a four-length victory in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Handicap.

"She should like the mile and three-eighths," said Frankel. "She had colic the day of her only bad race she's run over here."

Light Jig had a terrible trip the only other time she was beaten in this country, when she lost by a nose at Santa Anita in April, Frankel said.

The condition of the turf course could have a large say not only in the outcome of the race but also in the composition of the starting lineup. Ed Dunlop, who trains Ouija Board, said Ouija Board may not be as effective on soft grass as she would be on firm ground, and as a result he would be more inclined to run her in the Filly and Mare Turf rather than against males in the Turf.

"We're not averse to running her on soft turf, but we've avoided it for obvious reasons this year, and the chance of less than firm ground Saturday might help in making our final decision of where to run her," said Dunlop.

Ouija Board would be the overwhelming favorite if she were to run in the Filly and Mare Turf, but would likely be the second choice behind Kitten's Joy in the Turf.

Among the filly and mare contenders who would relish softer ground are Wonder Again, Riskaverse, and Moscow Burning.

Wonder Again won both the Grade 2 New York Handicap and the Grade 1 Diana on soft turf. Riskaverse upset the Flower Bowl Invitational over a yielding course, while Moscow Burning slogged through a yielding strip to capture the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap.

The German-bred Aubonne arrived at Lone Star from New York on Tuesday. Jerry Bailey will ride for trainer Eric Libaud.