07/03/2002 11:00PM

Megahertz will be flying late


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The inaugural running of the $500,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on Saturday features top-class fillies from throughout the United States and Europe.

None will have the same support as an ex-claimer who is stabled adjacent to the racetrack.

Megahertz, trained by Bobby Frankel for Michael Bello, is unbeaten in four stakes this year, a turnaround from her spotty record against claimers last year in France.

Megahertz will be favored in the American Oaks, which is run over

1 1/4 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies. The Oaks is the seventh race on a 10-race program that includes two other graded stakes and a $1 million guaranteed pick six pool.

Megahertz faces seven other stakes winners in a cast with a strong European influence. Eight of the 15 fillies entered began their careers in Europe; four made their last starts in Europe. Megahertz has been flawless since joining Frankel last fall.

Frankel insists that Megahertz's strength is her ability to comfortably rate at the back of the field. She came from behind to win the Blue Norther, Some Sensation, and Providencia stakes at Santa Anita in the winter and spring. In her most convincing win, she overcame trouble on the final turn to win the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 8 over this course.

"I don't think she has to improve too much," Frankel said. "She's got a great turn of foot. I think the distance will help her. She's doesn't pull at all and she's easy to ride."

Megahertz will have plenty of pace to chase. The longshots AB Noodle and Devon Rose and top contender Cellars Shiraz, a stakes winner from Florida, are expected to lead, closely followed by Arabic Song, Clerical Error, Cyclorama, Distant Valley, and Saranac Lake.

Alozaina, Dublino, Maliziosa, Ombre Legere, and Riskaverse will also come from behind. Linda Eder is on the also-eligible list, needing a defection by scratch time to join the field.

Distant Valley and Riskaverse are capable of winning.

Distant Valley won the Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs last month and was a stakes winner in England at 2.

Riskaverse won the Grade 3 Sands Point Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Belmont Park on June 16, catching Cyclorama in the final strides.

Riskaverse has the same closing style as Megahertz. With so many fillies capable of being in contention in early stretch, such closers could provide the first American Oaks with a thrilling finish.

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