05/05/2004 11:00PM

No Megahertz to stop Arabic Song

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - It's probably just as well that Neil Drysdale was out of town on March 27 and didn't see Arabic Song run in the Grade 2 Santa Ana at Santa Anita.

She was stalking nicely and had begun to close ground in the stretch when Megahertz, first under the wire that day, ducked in sharply, forcing Arabic Song to steady badly and lose all momentum. Arabic Song wound up fourth but was moved up to third when Megahertz was disqualified.

"From listening to John," Drysdale said of his assistant, John O'Donoghue, "she was making a nice move when Megahertz cut her off."

There will be no Megahertz or any other graded-stakes winners for Arabic Song to worry about in Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows. The purse for the race includes $50,000 from the Breeders' Cup Fund

In four meetings, Megahertz has finished in front of Arabic Song each time. That may not have played a large role in Drysdale's decision to come north, but the Yerba Buena's graded status did. Arabic Song would benefit from winning a Grade 3.

"That's important for her, to get a graded-stakes win," Drysdale said. "She's already won a stakes and placed in graded races."

Sister Mary Hugh may fit after all

For trainer Quentin Miller, there's a little of the proverbial method in his madness.

Miller has entered Sister Mary Hugh, who seems, at first blush, to be a bit overmatched in the Yerba Buena. She has run four times this year, finishing second in each start.

Two of her starts, including her most recent, have been in $12,500 starter allowance races, but she also ran second in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields and second in a $50,000 optional claimer at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old mare has two wins and a pair of seconds in eight tries over the local turf.

"I knew her dad [Lord Avie] quite well," Miller said. "She's bred top and bottom to go long, so this is a chance to stretch her out. She doesn't respect class. She always gives her best. At Santa Anita, she was running over horses at the finish."

Miller knows his mare will be the longest shot on the board, but he figures it's worth a chance in a fairly small field, especially since Sister Mary Hugh is eligible for the Breeders' Cup supplement.

"And now, she gets her regular rider back," Miller said, referring to jockey Miguel Perez.

Hooked on Niners working well

Hooked on Niners's dam is Hooked on Music. Combine that with an ownership group full of San Francisco 49ers fans, and it's pretty obvious where she got her name.

She comes into the race with a sizzling five-furlong work in 58.60 seconds last Sunday. During the workout, Hooked on Niners was traveling faster than exercise rider Mario Cisneros thought, said trainer Bill Morey Jr.

"I have too many of the others where the rider thinks they're going fast but they're staying in the same place too long," Morey said.