04/10/2002 11:00PM

Megahertz a surprise entrant


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Bobby Frankel has decided to run Megahertz in Saturday's $75,000 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita after all.

Last weekend, Frankel said that Megahertz, who has won two stakes this year, would pass the Providencia Stakes in favor of stakes at the upcoming Hollywood Park meeting.

But when the entries were drawn on Thursday, Megahertz was one of seven entrants for the Providencia, a restricted race for 3-year-old fillies run over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

"They said it was a small field," Frankel said, explaining why he changed his mind. "She's ready to run."

Earlier this year, Megahertz won the Blue Norther Stakes and the Some Sensation Stakes, both over a mile on turf. She will be heavily favored in the Providencia, which would have been an open race in her absence.

Her competition includes three stakes winners: Ashbecca, La Martina, and Lady George. La Martina poses the biggest threat to Megahertz. Ashbecca and Lady George have never won on turf.

Since arriving last summer from England, where she was stakes placed, La Martina has run only in turf stakes. Trained by Jenine Sahadi, La Martina won the California Oaks over a yielding turf course at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 18.

She won the restricted Hidden Light Stakes here last October, finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park, and was third behind Megahertz in the Blue Norther Stakes.

A closer, La Martina will be ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., who has been aboard for La Martina's last three workouts, Sahadi said.

"We have to time her run just right," Sahadi said. "She relaxes and doesn't do anything wrong."

Sahadi was particularly stung by the fourth in the Miesque Stakes, when La Martina was in traffic at the quarter pole and near the finish and was beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

"She hasn't run a bad race," Sahadi said. "She didn't have a clean trip in the Miesque."

Sahadi feels La Martina could show improvement Saturday.

The field will be chasing EC Lady, who has won her last two starts. Trained by Jim Cassidy, EC Lady won a one-mile turf race for $62,500 claimers on March 8 and returned 16 days later to score a front-running win in an optional claimer.

EC Lady is likely to lead into the stretch, but with accomplished closers such as Megahertz and La Martina in the field, it is hard to envision her carrying that advantage to the wire.

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