Prohibitive choice Megahertz, who has made a career of winning grass stakes at Santa Anita Park, said good-bye to her Southern California fans Saturday with a trademark victory in the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) at Oak Tree.
The Bobby Frankel-trained 6-year-old mare won for the ninth time in 13 starts over the Arcadia lawn and did so in typical late-running fashion under Alex Solis, beating an overmatched field of six foes at equal weight of 123 pounds. She's expected to test the best female turf distaffers in the world at Belmont Park in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 29 before being retired.
The victory sent Megahertz over the $2 million mark in career earnings.
There was one scary moment for the diminutive mare Saturday when Solis attempted to split horses coming off the turn to launch her stretch drive from dead last. She bumped a bit but not enough to affect her balance. Gary Stevens, aboard Flip Flop, who had taken the lead on the outside in mid-stretch, gave a furtive glance toward the winner as the chestnut swept past on his outside. Megahertz went on to a 1 1/2-length victory under hand urging in a time of 2:00 2/5 for the 1 1/4-mile distance on an extremely hot day at Santa Anita.
Solis said he wasn't concerned about getting through the hole because he knew he had plenty of horse.
"She's incredible," said Solis, who has ridden her in all five of her starts in 2005. "She occupies a special place in my heart. She's looking great (going into the Breeders' Cup). Hopefully, she can perform the same way in that race."
Flip Flop held second by three-quarters of a length behind Halo Ola and Rene Douglas.
"The winner is just something very special, and I'm just happy that my filly ran as well as she did," Stevens said.
Smokegetenyoureyes set a realistic pace of :24, :48 and 1:12 4/5 before giving way in the stretch.
Megahertz, a British-bred daughter of Pivotal owned by Michael Bello of Newport Coast, notched her 14th career win in 33 starts and upped her earnings to $2,261,594. Megahertz won for the fourth time in five starts this year. She caught a yielding turf in her last start in the Beverly D (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug. 13 and came up a neck short to Angara.
"It's a happy day but it's a sad day, too, because it's the last time she's going to race in Southern California," Bello said. "She always pulls through. She's a tiger."
Frankel, who was not at Santa Anita, won the Yellow Ribbon for the fifth time. Assistant Humberto Ascanio saddled the winner, as he often does.
"She's real special. Today, I was real sad. I was a little worried because she got real hot, maybe because today's a hot day," Ascanio said. "I'm going to miss her."
Megahertz paid $3, $2.20, and $2.10. Flip Flop returned $4 and $2.10. Halo Ola was $2.10 to show.
The mare is scheduled to be sold at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale as part of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment.
She will sell on Monday, Nov. 7 as Hip#47.