02/07/2004 12:00AM

Miss Coronado holds on


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - An hour before sending out Medaglia d'Oro to win the featured Donn Handicap on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, trainer Bobby Frankel pulled off an upset in the $150,000 when the lightly raced Miss Coronado led from start to finish, outlasting three others in a thrilling stretch drive.

Miss Coronado ($18.80) had raced just twice previously, both times on turf in California. Frankel decided to bring her to Gulfstream to avoid champion Halfbridled and

A.P. Adventure, the West's leading 3-year-old fillies, who are scheduled to run at Santa Anita next weekend.

Frankel also put his thinking cap on when handicapping the Grade 2 race. Realizing there was precious little pace in the 1 1/16-mile race, he told jockey Cornelio Velasquez to "let her run out of the gate."

It was a winning move. Miss Coronado made the lead from her inside post and set leisurely fractions of 24.48 seconds, 49.13, and 1:14.11 for the first six furlongs. Last Song was the first to threaten her down the backside, Society Selection joined the hunt entering the far turn, and Eye Dazzler, who broke slowly, ranged up at the top of the stretch, leaving four across the track, but Miss Coronado held them all off to win by a desperate head over an unlucky Eye Dazzler.

Society Selection, the winner of last fall's Grade 1 Frizette Stakes and the 4-5 favorite, was another neck back in third and was a neck in front of fourth-place Last Song.

Miss Coronado completed 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:44.62. The victory was her second in three starts.

"Every time they came to her, she took off again," Frankel said.

"She just kept on fighting," Velasquez said.

Frankel said Miss Coronado would return to California; she is based at Hollywood Park. Frankel was not sure where she would race next.

Miss Coronado, a daughter of Coronado's Quest, was bred and is owned by the Stonerside Stable of Bob and Janice McNair.