Michael Bello's Megahertz took advantage of a slow early pace as the 5-year-old British-bred mare unleashed a quick turn of foot in the last quarter-mile to win the San Gorgiono Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Settled into last early in the four-horse field by jockey Alex Solis, Megahertz was content to bide her time as Garden in the Rain set fractions of :25.51, :51.08, and 1:14.79. Megahertz went to the outside as the field rounded the second turn, came three deep into the stretch, and rallied under some urging to gain the lead nearing the sixteenth pole. The final time for 1 1/8 miles on grass was 1:49.51.
With no show betting offered, Megahertz paid $3.20 and $2.10, as Garden in the Rain held on for second, paying $2.10. Firth of Lorne was third, followed by Mer de Corail.
The San Gorgonio was the first start for Megahertz since a fifth-place finish, 3 1/2 lengths behind winner Islington, in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita last Oct. 25. In last year's San Gorgonio, the daughter of Pivotal -- Heavenly Ray (Rahy) finished second to stablemate Tates Creek.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, who was winning his 100th stake at Santa Anita, said Megahertz "definitely" would remain in training this year.
"I've been lucky in this race," said Frankel, who has won the San Gorgonio seven times. "I've had a lot of good fillies over the years. This is a real good filly; she ranks up there with them. I just trained her normally. She doesn't take a whole lot of training. I could have run her in a mile and three-sixteenths race at Hollywood but I decided to wait until this race."
"She is an incredible filly," jockey Alex Solis said of the winner. "She ran her race as planned. All I had to do was make sure she had a good trip. The pace was slow, but it worked out to our advantage. She is so little and athletic that when she comes down the stretch she can really finish. She is one of those rare horses that has a quick turn of foot to finish strong the last quarter-mile. There aren't many horses that can sustain that kind of kick."
Megahertz has now won nine of 23 lifetime starts, with earnings of $1,249,094. The 5-year-old mare was victorious in two of seven starts last season, with wins in the John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) and Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT).