Juddmonte Farms, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey and Sightseek, each on the verge of winning an Eclipse Award Monday night in Florida, are set to tackle six rivals Sunday in the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.Juddmonte is a finalist for top owner and breeder of 2003. Frankel is up for his fourth consecutive award as top trainer and a record fifth overall. Bailey is seeking his seventh in the last nine years as best jockey. And Sightseek is among the three finalists for older filly or mare honors on the dirt.Sightseek, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Distant View, will be making her first start since finishing fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) last Oct. 25. Owned by Juddmonte Farms, ridden by Bailey and trained by Frankel, who is in a 3-for-37 slump at Santa Anita through Thursday, Sightseek carries high weight of 122 pounds in the Santa Monica at seven furlongs. She faces a competitive field that includes Got Koko, only the third filly to sweep the prestigious La Canada series at Santa Anita last year, and Island Fashion, a multiple grade I stakes winner who demolished nine rivals with a six-length win in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Dec. 27.Frankel won the Santa Monica in 2000 with Honest Lady, who was second in that year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. Headley won the Santa Monica in 2002 with Kalookan Queen.Headley feels the small field will benefit Got Koko.
"Problems are less likely to occur in a small field," Headley said. "Got Koko will come from off the pace even if there's not much speed in this race. You just have to run the way she wants to run and hope for the best because all those fillies have been racing, they're all speed and ready to go. I'm coming off the bench." Got Koko has also been out of action since the Breeders' Cup Distaff, when she finished third by seven lengths.
Buffythecenterfold blew out three furlongs Friday in :34.80 for trainer Mel Stute.
$250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 4 p.m. PST), fillies & mares 4 & up, 7 furlongs
1. Buffythecenterfold, Matt Garcia, 114
2. Sightseek, Jerry Bailey, 122
3. Star Parade, Victor Espinoza, 114
4. Sparkling Ava, Felipe Martinez, 109
5. Island Fashion, Kent Desormeaux, 120
6. Princess V., Mike Smith, 112
7. Got Koko, Alex Solis, 119