One week after winning Belmont's Mother Goose (gr. I) with Spoken Fur and the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) with Wild Spirit, the Hall of Fame combination of trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey join forces for Sunday's $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) with the immensely talented Sightseek.A multiple Grade 1 winning filly, the Juddmonte Farms star faces six seemingly outclassed females in the nine-furlong race. Sightseek, who is expected to start in the realm at odds of 2-5, is the 121-pound high weight. She will spot her foes five to nine pounds. The Go for Wand will go as race nine on Sunday's 10-race card at the Spa. All fans attending the track will receive a free Seabiscuit collectors' mug with each paid admission, while supplies last. Aside from reigning Horse of the Year Azeri, beaten just once in a 14-race career, Sightseek sports one of the most impressive resumes in the game. A daughter of Distant View, she has been nearly flawless while winning six of 10 starts at five different racetracks. How good is she? Sightseek has never finished out of the exacta. A half-sister to Saratoga stakes winner Tates Creek, Sightseek began her career nearly a year ago to the day here at Saratoga. The near eight-length romp under Bailey wound up being a sign of many good things to come. Sightseek has since racked up four graded stakes victories, two of which held grade I status. She enters the Go for Wand seeking her third straight grade I win, having won Churchill Downs' Humana Distaff and Belmont Park's Ogden Phipps in May and June."There hasn't been a filly dominate the division like Azeri has over the last couple of years," said Bailey, a seven-time Saratoga riding title winner. "Sightseek has probably been overlooked a bit because of Azeri. Obviously, she's got talent. Right now, I don't know what her distance limitations are."Sightseek has won races ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/16 mile. She weakened in the final 200 yards of the La Canada (gr. II) and the Santa Margarita (gr. I) to finish second behind Got Koko and Starrer, respectively. The La Canada and Santa Margarita are the only nine-furlong races on Sightseek's resume. "I wasn't aboard for either race, but she was right there," Bailey said. "She's got the speed to get herself in a good spot and she handles any kind of surface. I don't think traffic or track condition will be an issue. She doesn't run off. She doesn't go until you ask her."
Bailey recently rode another imposing Frankel-trained filly in Wild Spirit, a runaway winner of last Sunday's Delaware Handicap. Wild Spirit, a Chilean bred, is now undefeated in two starts in the United States. Bailey said he doesn't know which one is better yet."They're both good," he said. "Sightseek would have the advantage going shorter. Wild Spirit would have the advantage going longer."As a team, Bailey and Frankel are looking for their eighth grade I victory in New York this year. They've won the Wood Memorial, Metropolitan Handicap, Belmont Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, Mother Goose, Coaching Club American Oaks and Ogden Phipps Handicap.Debby Oxley's Forest Secrets isn't the most consistent racehorse, but she has a penchant for surprising. Back in her 3-year-old season, Forest Secrets scored major upsets in the Acorn (gr. I) at 50-1 and the Falls City Handicap (gr. III) at 22-1. A 5-year-old mare, Forest Secrets has only run once since finishing fifth behind Dancethruthedawn in last year's Go For Wand. This will be her first start since checking in a well-beaten third in Keeneland's Madison in early April. "She did something to her ligament behind her ankle in the Go for Wand," said Forest Secrets' trainer John Ward. "We had a tough time finding a spot for her this spring with all the rain and muddy tracks. I was hoping to get a prep in her down at Belmont, but wasn't able to. Maybe we're stretching our imagination a bit, but she runs well fresh and she's sharp. Whatever happens, she'll be better for the next one."The meet's leading rider through Thursday, Edgar Prado, will ride Forest Secrets.
Trainer John Kimmel, saddling grade I winner Miss Linda, summed up the race: "It's Sightseek and everyone else." Owned by Ackerley Brothers Farm, Miss Linda has finished in front and behind Forest Secrets in two previous meetings. Miss Linda, however, has never faced the razor-sharp Sightseek and looks a cut below the top filly.Miss Linda, upset winner of Keeneland's Spinster (gr. I) in October of 2001, must improve off her 11-length defeat at odds of 1-5 in a Monmouth Park allowance race on July 9. That race was Miss Linda's first since finishing fourth in last year's Go for Wand. "Definitely rusty," said trainer John Kimmel of Miss Linda's comeback. "The track was deep and cuppy and she struggled over it."We're going to take a shot. Otherwise I would've been sitting for three weeks trying to find a race." Jockey Richard Migliore has the mount. Miss Linda was assigned 116 pounds. $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I), fillies 7 mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP. HORSE, TRAINER, JOCKEY, WGT.
1. Forest Secrets, John Ward, Edgar Prado, 115
2. Happily Unbridled, Elliott Walden, Pat Day, 112
3. Miss Linda, John Kimmel, Richard Migliore, 116
4. Nonsuch Bay, Frank Alexander, Eibar Coa, 113
5. Sightseek, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey, 121
6. Call an Audible, Mark Hennig, Robby Albarado 112
7. She's Got the Beat, Phil Johnson, Jean-Luc Samyn, 112