Sightseek Exits on Perfect Beldame Note

Sightseek Exits on Perfect Beldame Note
Photo: AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese
Sightseek and Javier Castellano cruise home in the Beldame Stakes, Saturday at Belmont.
(from Belmont Park report)
Juddmonte Farm's Sightseek ended a spectacular career in a gallop Saturday afternoon, waltzing off to a 2 ¾-length repeat victory in the $750,000 Beldame (gr. I) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Made the 3-5 favorite in the field of five, Sightseek gave them the show they expected. She set a pace of :24 4/5; :48 2/5; 1:12 4/5 under jockey Javier Castellano who wrapped up and eased her home in 1:49 3/5. Last year, she won the Beldame in 1:49 1/5.

Society Selection finished second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Storm Flag Flying.

The $450,000 winning purse gives the 5-year-old Distant View mare career earnings of $2,445,216. She finishes with a record of 12-5-0 from 20 starts while undefeated in six Belmont starts. She recorded seven grade I wins.

Sightseek returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 to win and created a minus show pool of $86,870.

"I worried about her," said winning trainer Bobby Frankel, failing to hold back tears. "She's going home safely. I wanted her to win and go out on top. I said months ago that this was going to be her last race. The Juddmonte people questioned me about it, but I told them I wanted this to be it."

Frankel, who said Sightseek will go to Juddmonte Farm in Kentucky, began campaigning for divisional honors.

"This is definitely the best mare I've trained on dirt. The Eclipse Award is up to the voters. She beat Azeri by 11 lengths and Azeri beat her by a length and a half. I know Azeri is the darling of everybody, but this is a great filly. The pace scenario made her win easily. I was a little concerned because it looked like (Castellano) was pulling her up at the sixteenth-pole.

"I thought this would be the best way for her to go out. This was a big purse -- $750,000. She ran three weeks ago, and if she were going to run in the Breeders' Cup (Distaff), it would only be another three week to that.

Castellano said he was grateful to ride her in her final race.

"Bobby Frankel made me feel so special --he gave me the opportunity to ride the filly," Castellano said. "He made me feel confident."

One filly who will take a shot in the $2 million Nextel Breeders' Cup Distaff at nine furlongs at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30will be the 3-year-old Society Selection, who is in the hands of Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens.

"We did the best we could under the circumstances," Jerkens said. "We didn't want to change our filly's running style. We want to go to the big race. The owners want to go."

Society Selection returned $2.50 and $2.10.

Former juvenile champion Storm Flag Flying ($2.10) ran third for trainer Shug McGaughey, who saddled three winners earlier in the day.

"It wasn't her kind of race," McGaughey said of Storm Flag Flying. "She had to press and press and press. I thought she ran okay. We'll see how she comes back and talk the Breeders' Cup over. It will be a different kind of race. This could have been tough for her today, coming off two, two-turn races."

Board Elligible and Nevermore completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)

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