Megahertz, the English-bred 3-year-old filly who has developed into a budding superstar for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, faces an international cast in Saturday's inaugural running of the $500,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.
The Oaks, an invitational event for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on the turf, is the brainchild of Hollywood Park racing secretary Martin Panza.
"There is no other race like it for 3-year-old fillies in North America," says Panza. "It gives them a chance to stay in their own age group and run a classic distance before meeting older fillies and mares in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf."
Ten fillies from California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, and New York will be joined by four runners from overseas. The 3-1 favorite is Southern California's Megahertz, owned by Michael Bello, who has captured four successive stakes races since shipping from France to join Frankel's barn. After her victory in the June 8 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap, jockey Patrick Valenzuela said he hadn't experienced such a burst of speed from any horse since riding Arazi to victory in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Solis will be back aboard Megahertz, having missed the ride in the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup because of an out-of-town commitment. The chestnut filly, who raced six times in France before blossoming under Frankel, has earned $264,646 from an overall record of 5-1-2 in 12 races.
The overseas contingent includes the lightly raced Dublino, who has joined forces with Laura de Seroux, trainer of Azeri and Astra. Those two are considered North America's premiere older females. Azeri tops main track rankings while Astra heads the continent's older filly and mare turf competitors.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Lear Fan, Dublino has raced but twice in France. After winning her debut, the bay filly finished a fast-closing second to Sophisticat in the group III Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp. Sophisticat subsequently won the group I Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in England.
Fillies invited from around the nation include Maliziosa, a Florida-bred daughter of Dynaformer who will be seeking her fourth straight win for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Maliziosa most recently took Hawthorne's $100,000 Summertime Promise Breeders' Cup Stakes by four lengths. She has won four of seven starts for earnings of $187,168.
The complete field for the American Oaks with jockeys (all starters carry 121 pounds), and odds:
1) Maliziosa, Mike Smith, 5-1
2) Cyclorama, Victor Espinoza, 20-1
3) Alozaina, Goncalino Almeida, 25-1
4) Devon Rose, Martin Pedroza, 25-1
5) a-Distant Valley, Brice Blanc, 10-1
6) Dublino, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1
7) a-Ombre Legere, Jose Valdivia, 10-1
8) Clerical Error, Laffit Pincay Jr., 15-1
9) AB Noodle, Iggy Puglisi, 20-1
10) Cellars Shiraz, Cornelio Velasquez, 25-1
11) Saranac Lake, Eddie Delahoussaye, 20-1
12) Arabic Song, Patrick Valenzuela, 10-1
13) Megahertz, Alex Solis, 3-1
14) Riskaverse, Robbie Davis, 10-1
Also eligible: Linda Eder, Desormeaux. a-Gary A. Tanaka entry.