Society Selection Challenges Older Females in Beldame

She's tackled the best of the best in the 3-year-old filly division. Now Society Selection is ready to take on older grade I winners Sightseek and Storm Flag Flying in Saturday's $750,000 Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

In many cases, the Beldame represents a 3-year-old filly's first start against older horses. While it would be reasonable to think such a situation could be tough on a younger filly, 3-year-olds have won 12 of the last 20 Beldames and half of the 66 runnings. It's a weight-for-age race, where 3-year-olds carry 120 pounds and older horses carry 123 pounds.

Society Selection, owned by Marjorie and Irving Cowan and trained by Allen Jerkens, is the lone 3-year-old in the 1 1/8-mile contest and will be making her first start against older rivals.

The daughter of Coronado's Quest had a great summer at Saratoga, picking a pair of grade I wins against her own age group in the Test Stakes and Alabama, both run over wet tracks.

But the competition will get a little tougher when she lines up against five older rivals. Sightseek is a perfect five-for-five at Belmont and Storm Flag Flying is regaining her 2002 juvenile filly championship form.

Ogden Mills Phipps' Storm Flag Flying has lost to Sightseek both times the two have met. In the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), Sightseek cruised to a 3 1/2-length win, and was two lengths better Storm Flag Flying in the Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I).

The Shug McGaughey-trained Storm Flag Flying rebounded to take the Personal Ensign (gr. I), named for her undefeated champion grandmother, over 2002 Horse of the Azeri under a dream trip from jockey John Velazquez.

Barring a strange course of events, Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek will be making her last appearance at Belmont. The outstanding 5-year-old mare is expected to be retired following this year's campaign, which may or may not include a trip to Lone Star Park in Texas for the Oct. 30 Breeder' Cup Distaff, Presented by Nextel (gr. I).

With a lack of true speed in the race, the Bobby Frankel-trained Sightseek could find herself on the lead early, but Storm Flag Flying is not expected to be too far behind.

Defending Beldame champion Sightseek was superb tearing apart an overmatched group of rivals by 11 1/4 lengths in the Ruffian (gr. I) last month.

Beldame Stakes (gr. I), $750,000, 1 1/8 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, Belmont Park, Saturday, Oct. 9
PP -- Horse (Jockey, weight)
1 -- Sightseek (Javier Castellano, 123)
2 -- Nevermore (Victor Espinoza, 123)
3 -- Personal Legend (Shaun Bridgmohan, 123)
4 -- Board Eligible (Pablo Fragoso, 123)
5 -- Society Selection (Cornelio Velasquez, 120)
6 -- Storm Flag Flying (John Velazquez)