Sightseek One to Beat in Beldame

From NYRA Press Office:

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel loves the position he is in with Juddmonte Farms' multiple grade I winner Sightseek. After 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri had her 11-race win streak snapped last weekend in California, the case could be made that Sightseek is better. She has won her last three grade I starts by open lengths, including a dominating performance against lesser in the Go for Wand.

The key now for Sightseek is to remain at the top of her game until the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) later this month at Santa Anita. Briefly sidetracked by a minor cough, the 4-year-old filly makes her first start since July in Saturday's grade I, $750,000 Beldame at 1 1/8 mile.

Also on Saturday's card are a trio of other important steps to the
Breeders' Cup, the Champagne (gr. I) and Frizette (gr. I) for 2-year-olds and the Kelso Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) for milers.

If she is the same filly she was during the spring and summer, Sightseek's rivals had better be at their best should they want to be lead down the brick path to the winner's circle. Although she has not run in over two months, Sightseek's works have been brilliant. She went five furlongs in a sparkling :58 2/5 Sept. 6 and six furlongs in a sharp 1:10 3/5 on Sept. 21.

"You don't see fillies look like her," Frankel said of Sightseek, one of his favorite horses to train. "She's gorgeous. She looks like a gladiator. She's so easy to train and kind to be around. You like those kinds of horses. They don't give you any headaches. You come here in the morning and they're the same every day."

As far as determining the champion filly or mare of 2003, the Breeders' Cup Distaff will probably be the deciding factor, and that is exactly how Frankel wants it.

"It just throws the door wide open," Frankel said of Azeri's loss. "If she would have run in the Classic and got beat, the voters might not have taken too much away from her. Now if I win the Distaff, there's no doubt I get it. Before I was worried about it."

Sightseek has come a long way this year. She finished second in her first three starts of 2003, but Frankel accepts much of the blame for her early season losses.

"I'll take a little credit for her getting beat," said Frankel, who will give a leg up to regular rider Jerry Bailey Saturday. "I was just playing with her and I didn't really get serious with her until I got back here. I didn't want the whole year to be a hard year. I thought I'd get away with murder, but I couldn't."

While Sightseek is in a battle for top older filly or mare, Marylou Whitney Stables' Bird Town needs to finish out the year strong if she is to be considered for the top 3-year-old filly in the country. She was the leading candidate for that role going back to the spring when she paired up big efforts to win the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Acorn.

Winless in two starts since her Acorn triumph, Bird Town has been freshened up after finishing fifth in the Alabama.

"Of course it was a disappointment," trainer Nick Zito said of the Alabama. "You don't know what happens sometimes. You try to figure it out. You think you're going in there all-systems-go and that's racing. I don't know what it was -- sealed track, he took her back -- I don't know."

Bird Town has been training over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track. The Cape Town filly has posted four Spa workouts since the Alabama, including a Sept. 27th drill in which she went seven furlongs in 1:28 4/5.

With Edgar Prado out of town Saturday, jockey Aaron Gryder has picked up the mount on Bird Town.

The field for Saturday's Beldame:
1. Buy The Sport, Corey Nakatani, 120
2. Sightseek, Jerry Bailey, 123
3. Summer Colony, Pablo Fragoso, 123
4. Passing Shot, Jose Santos, 123
5. Bird Town, Aaron Gryder, 120
6. Smok'n Frolic, Ramon Dominguez, 123
7. Misty Sixes, Mike Luzzi, 123
8. Island Fashion, John Velazquez, 120