Megahertz Chases Santa Barbara Repeat

(from Santa Anita report)
Megahertz will carry greater weight and greater expectations than her five rivals as a clear standout in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT), a 1 ¼-mile contest for older fillies and mares.

The 5-year-old Bobby Frankel-trained mare figures to be the heavy favorite in the Santa Barbara, a race she won last year. She would be the second to win Santa Anita's leading turf handicap for females in back-to-back years. Astra, in 2000 and 2001, was the first.

Megahertz is also going for a sweep of the second half of the four-race Santa Barbara Handicap series, having won the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 mile on Jan 10.

She'll carry the high weight of 121 pounds, five more than her nearest competitor. Megahertz has a lifetime record of 9-3-5 from 24 starts with earnings of more than $1.2 million.

Frankel has more at stake Saturday than another graded stakes win. He's five victories shy of his 800th win at Santa Anita. Only the legendary Charlie Whittingham has accomplished that.

There is still a race to be run, however, and standing in Megahertz's way will be the Richard Mandella-trained Noches de Rosa, a 6-year-old who has beaten Megahertz before, though it was more than a year ago in the 2003 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT).

Other stakes winners in the group include Bartok's Blithe and Star Vega.

$200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 4 & up, 1 1/4 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Uraib, Juan Leyva, 111
2. Megahertz, Alex Solis, 121
3. Star Vega, Victor Espinoza, 112
4. Mandela, Javier Santiago, 111
5. Bartok's Blithe, Jon Court, 112
6. Noches De Rosa, Tyler Baze, 116