01/18/2014 6:17PM

Santa Anita: Dancingtothestars wins first stakes in Megahertz

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Benoit & Associates
Dancingtothestars, with Mario Gutierrez aboard, wins the Megahertz Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Dancingtothestars won the first stakes of her career in Saturday’s $91,000 Megahertz Stakes at Santa Anita, a victory winning trainer Doug O’Neill credited to jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Dancingtothestars ($11) stalked pacesetter Fanticola to the turn, took the lead with a quarter-mile remaining and won by three-quarters of a length. Dancingtothestars ran a mile on turf in 1:33.77.

“I thought Mario did a great job of keeping the pace honest,” O’Neill said. “I think he made a good move. Fanticola didn’t get a chance to catch a breather and get distance. I thought Mario won the race for her.”

Fanticola, who made her stakes debut in the Megahertz, finished second, a head in front of Gulsary, the 3-2 favorite. Charlie Em and Charm the Maker also ran. Lady Ten and Moone’s My Name were scratched on Saturday morning.

Fanticola had won three consecutive starts – a maiden race and two allowance races – before the Megahertz. She set fractions of 23.08 and 46.83 seconds, leading by as much as 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch. Gutierrez, best known for winning the 2012 Kentucky Derby on the O’Neill-trained I’ll Have Another, coaxed Dancingtothestars closer to Fanticola at the end of the backstretch.

Dancingtothestars has won 6 of 20 starts and $400,872. Owned by Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds, Dancingtothestars is a 6-year-old California-bred mare by Good Journey. She finished second or third in four consecutive restricted or statebred stakes in early 2013.

The Megahertz Stakes, for fillies and mares, was the first stakes win for O’Neill since Goldencents won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile here on Nov. 1.