Gamely 'Match Race' for Megahertz, Dimitrova

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Megahertz and Dimitrova, winners of the first two American Oaks, will hook up in Monday's $350,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.

The Gamely, which drew only four entrants, is Hollywood's Memorial Day co-feature along with the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I).

Third behind Tates Creek in the Gamely one year ago, Megahertz is the likely favorite in the 1 1/8-mile test. She has crossed the finish line first in three successive grade II stakes races at Santa Anita Park. The British-bred 5-year-old won the San Gorgonio and Santa Barbara Handicaps, but was disqualified to seventh in the Santa Ana after swerving inward through the stretch.

Trained by Bobby Frankel for Michael Bello, the stretch-running Megahertz won the inaugural American Oaks in 2002 when moved up from second following the disqualification of Dublino. With 10 wins from 25 career starts, Megahertz has earned $1,369,094.

In their only previous meeting, she finished ahead of Dimitrova when a fast closing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at 16-1 odds on Oct. 25.

Irish-bred Dimitrova made her U.S. debut when taking last year's American Oaks. The 4-year-old filly, trained by Neil Drysdale for Joseph Higgins, added a victory in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) to her resume at Belmont Park before finishing last at 11-1 odds in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Dimitrova returned from a freshening from that effort to run fourth when favored in the April 25 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT), her first start for Drysdale.

"The mile (Wilshire) was a bit short for her," he said.

"It was a great start for 2004," commented jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Desormeaux, a record six-time winner of the Gamely, hopes to continue his good luck.

Just elected to the Racing Hall of Fame this week, Desormeaux, commenting on his Gamely success, noted, "Like (Gary) Stevens, you can't beat him in the Santa Anita Derby. I guess the Gamely is my race. I guess I have been lucky with fast turf fillies. The Gamely winners really were some of the best turf horses you could ride."

Two of Desormeaux's Gamely winners, Possibly Perfect in 1995 and Fiji in 1998, became Eclipse Award winners as female grass horse. His other winners were Toussaud in stakes-record time of 1:45 in 1993, Auriette in 1996 and Astra in 2000 and 2002. Desormeaux finished second aboard Dublino last year.

Like Desormeaux, Frankel is a six-time Gamely winner.

"The odds are pretty good that one of us is going to be a lucky number seven," said Desormeaux. "I'm not surprised that the field is that small. When you've got Dimitrova and Megahertz in the race, I'd stay in the barn too."

Dimitrova has won four of ten starts and earned more than $1 million.

Quero Quero and Noches De Rosa, a pair of grade II winners, complete the lineup, each under 115 pounds. Quero Quero breezed a half mile on the main track in :49 4/5 Friday for trainer Paulo Lobo.

$350,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Noches De Rosa, Mike Smith, 115
2. Dimitrova, Kent Desormeaux, 122
3. Megahertz, Victor Espinoza, 122
4. Quero Quero, Javier Santiago, 115