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Megahertz Negotiates a Bumpy Stretch Drive

Horse racing: Favorite is declared winner of American Oaks after Dublino is placed second for interference.

July 07, 2002|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ultimately, the inaugural American Oaks had a predictable finish Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Megahertz, the 19-10 favorite in the field of 14 3-year-old fillies, kept her record perfect in the United States, but she needed some help from above.

Specifically, Hollywood Park stewards Pete Pedersen, Tom Ward and George Slender, who, from their perch on the roof above the press box, ruled that original winner Dublino interfered in the stretch. Dublino was placed second.

A daughter of Lear Fan making her U.S. debut in the $500,000 race for trainer Laura De Seroux, Dublino, the 4-1 second choice, crossed the wire first by a half-length in 2:00 2/5 for the 1 1/4 miles on turf, but various replays indicated the right decision was made.

Megahertz, who is five of five for owner Michael Bello and trainer Bobby Frankel, was bumped solidly by Dublino. Jockey Alex Solis also said his filly was hit twice by the whip of Kent Desormeaux, who rode Dublino.

"She was flying down the stretch when the other filly came out and bumped her," said Solis, who was forced to rally widest of all after trailing early. "Then, she got struck twice in the face, too, by [Desormeaux's] whip and it really messed up my momentum. It really cost her the race.

"This is an incredible filly. There were 14 horses and the last three-eighths I had to come around because there wasn't too much room anywhere else. She ran a great race."

Not surprisingly, De Seroux, who trains Dublino for a partnership that includes Michael Klein, the son of the late Gene Klein, wasn't happy with the stewards' decision. Neither was a group of fans near the winner's circle, who greeted the announcement with loud boos.

"Alex didn't stop riding," she said. "Dublino's the winner in my opinion. It's very disheartening because I didn't think Megahertz ever lost her momentum. To bring a filly off one race this year [on April 14 at Longchamp in France] and to bring her to a race like this, 2 1/2 months between races, I'm pretty disheartened. We'll be back."

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E Dubai, whose participation was uncertain until Friday night, led all the way to win the $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

Owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 4-year-old Mr. Prospector colt and 9-2 third choice slowed things down early under jockey John Velasquez, then repelled a challenge from 5-2 second choice Lido Palace to win by a three-quarters of a length in 2:00 4/5 for the 1 1/4 miles. Macho Uno, the 11-10 favorite, was third.

*

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. picked up the first Grade I victory of his career when Carson Hollow remained unbeaten with a two-length victory in the $200,000 Prioress at Belmont Park.

Carson Hollow, a New York-bred daughter of Carson City owned by Hemlock Hills Farm, Gabrielle Farm, Justine Zimmerman and Sanford Goldfarb, was the 4-1 third choice in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies. She completed the six furlongs in 1:08 4/5 under Velasquez, beating Spring Meadow, a 6-1 longshot, by two lengths. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Carson Hollow.

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Disqualified out of a victory in the 2001 United Nations Handicap, With Anticipation got the money this time around in the $500,000 Grade I, winning a thriller against the Frankel-trained Denon and the Neil Drysdale-trained Sarafan at Monmouth Park.

Ridden by Pat Day for owner George Strawbridge's Augustin Farm and trainer Jonathan Sheppard, the 7-year-old Relaunch gelding completed the 1 3/8 miles in 2:12 2/5. Suances, the pacesetter under jockey David Flores, finished fourth.

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Disturbingthepeace, a 16-1 longshot, led virtually throughout to win the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Owned by David and Rita Milch and trained by Darrell Vienna, the 4-year-old Bold Badgett gelding completed the seven furlongs in 1:21 in beating 5-1 longshot D'wildcat by three lengths. He was ridden by Victor Espinoza. It was the California bred's fourth victory in a row. Kona Gold, the 4-5 favorite, faded to sixth. It was only the fourth time in his career that the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner had finished worse than third.

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Surya, the 3-5 favorite, won for the third time in as many starts in the U.S. when easily dispatching of her 11 rivals in the $114,800 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Owned by Flaxman Holdings, Ltd. and trained by Frankel, the 4-year-old Unbridled filly was kept wide by Desormeaux while rallying and went on to beat 34-1 longshot Angel Gift by two lengths in 1:34 3/5 for the mile on turf.

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