Hollywood Park Race Report: Megakick

Published in the June 15 issue of The Blood-Horse
That chestnut blur you saw zooming across the Hollywood turf on June 8 was Megahertz. Don't blink or you may miss her. So far, the 3-year-old daughter of Pivotal has been unstoppable since she first set foot on local shores, and her sniper-like triumph in the $164,050 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) suggests she just might run the stakes table this summer.

Raced exclusively in France at two, Megahertz made her way into the high-powered Bobby Frankel arsenal last fall, and in no time, she rolled off three straight, each more impressive than the last. Her nail-biting finish in the nine-furlong Honeymoon, however, trumped them all.

A furlong out, Megahertz was anything but a lock. In fact, a slew of fillies had a shot in midstretch until Arabic Song and Chris McCarron finally struck the front. Though the lead was tenuous, the daughter of Alhaarth, trained by Neil Drysdale, looked like she had the Honeymoon wrapped up neat and nice.

And then it happened. Down inside, Pat Valenzuela glimpsed a slight hole, aimed, and shot Megahertz through. In a flash, it was over. Megahertz rocketed past the entire bunch. Arabic Song didn't know what hit her. The time, including Megahertz' sensational final furlong, was 1:51.97.

Owned by Michael Bello, Megahertz will now take aim at the inaugural American Oaks on July 6, a race expected to attract top turf fillies from the East Coast and beyond. Then again, Megahertz may cause them to think twice.

3,000 And Then Some
The abrupt assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. had just rocked the nation. Droves of American troops were being sent into action in Vietnam. The radio waves carried the soothing soul sounds of Otis Redding. Amid all this, an upstart jockey from Panama named Laffit Pincay Jr. rode his first winner ever at Hollywood Park. Quick--name the year.

Kudos if you came up with 1968. Though the victory by Greek Static that April 10 afternoon caused barely a ripple throughout the racing game, the rider would soon become a household name. Of the 9,373 victories Laffit Pincay Jr. has so far attained throughout his illustrious career, nearly a third have come at Hollywood. On June 8, more than 34 years after that initial win, Pincay reached his latest milestone when Hotel Hall became his 3,000th winner there.

The night before, Pincay set up the big moment with a narrow score aboard Slewsbox in the $107,100 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs. Pincay put the Slewdledo mare on the lead early on, and leaving the quarter pole after a :43.43 half, only Kalookan Queen had a chance to catch her. She couldn't. Trained by Chuck Peery, Slewsbox held on by a neck, completing the course in 1:09.57. The 5-year-old is owned by Leonard Dunham and Jerome Gardipee. b

At the Wire
Azeri and Astra got to stretch their legs at San Luis Rey Downs the morning of June 8, their first breezes back since last month's memorable weekend at Hollywood. With exercise rider Brian Eide a mere passenger, Azeri eased through a half in :464?5--"Very pretty," remarked trainer Laura de Seroux--as she prepares for the June 22 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) over nine furlongs. Astra, meanwhile, knocked off a simple three furlongs under Martin Meza, keeping on schedule for a title defense in the 11?4-mile Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IT) on June 29...Ragin T Rex could not be caught in the 51?2-furlong Manhattan Beach Stakes on grass June 9. Warren Stute trains the 3-year-old Cat's Career filly for owners Paula, Alan, and Roger Thomas...Gentlemen's Club debuted with aplomb on June 9, breaking his maiden by a length going five furlongs. The 2-year-old colt, bred and owned by R.D. Hubbard and Connie Sczesny, is a son of former grade I standouts Gentlemen and Fire the Groom. Richard Mandella is his trainer...Futural, best known for getting disqualified from last year's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), was claimed for $80,000 after running last in a June 6 optional claimer. His new owner, Kim Noble Hart, also picked up the Ireland-bred mare Catz for $80,000 the same afternoon. Both will be trained by J.T. Marshall.

(Chart, Equibase)