At the risk of looking past Sunday's Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), let's assume Sightseek turns back the California invaders Miss Loren and Musical Chimes and emerges victorious from the 1 1/16-mile race. What then?Trainer Bobby Frankel will have to decide whether to take on Azeri in the Spinster Stakes in the hopes of nailing down the older filly and mare championship, thus giving him the option to pass the Breeders' Cup if he wishes, or keep her at her favorite track and attempt to land the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) for the second straight year. But first Sightseek, has to get by some serious new foes, and, as of now, there is a good chance Hurricane Ivan will be dumping quite a bit of rain on New York over the weekend.Lone Star Turf Passes First Test
Teddy Grimthorpe of Juddmonte Farms took a tour of Lone Star Park on Wednesday and was impressed with the turf course, which has been a concern to the Europeans."The turf course looks to be in tremendous condition and has a good cushion," Grimthorpe said. "We hope to have some horses good enough to run over it next month."Two such horses are Nebraska Tornado, a candidate for the Filly & Mare turf (gr. IT), and Polish Summer, winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic who is under consideration for the John Deere Turf (gr. I). Both are trained in France by Andre Fabre.In her last start on Aug. 1, Nebraska Tornado finished third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Marbye, in the group I Prix de Astarte at Deauville in France. Polish Summer finished fourth over soft going last weekend in the group II Prix Foy at Longchamp.Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos family, was scheduled to visit Lone Star Park on Thursday. It is possible they could start Bago in either the Classic or Turf, and try for another Breeders' Cup Mile with last year's winner Six Perfections.In addition to Juddmonte Farms and the Niarchos family, other international representatives that have recently toured Lone Star Park include Shadwell Farm's Rick Nichols, Gainsborough Farm's Allen Kershaw, and Adrian Beaumont, director of racecourse services for the International Racing Bureau. 'Servis Station' Pumping Gas Again
Here we go again. Although it's too early to start comparing Rockport Harbor to Smarty Jones, step one at least has been completed. The son of Unbridled's Song, whom Servis trains for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms, broke his maiden at first asking, romping by 8 3/4 lengths under a hand ride by Stewart Elliott, who hopped over from Monmouth Park just to ride the colt. Rockport Harbor, who went off as the 1-5 favorite, was purchased by Porter at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale for $470,000.Big Weekend on Tap
The Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) and Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) pictures should clear up considerably this weekend. On the Juvenile front, the Futurity Stakes (gr. II) will be run Sunday at Belmont, while Arlington hosts the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) the same day. On Saturday, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) will be held at Turfway Park. The fillies will compete in Sunday's Matron (gr. I) at Belmont and Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) at Arlington, and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. III) at Turfway on Saturday.We should get a better idea of what to expect in the Mile after the $1-million Atto Mile (Can-I) at Woodbine on Sunday, which will be headed by locals Soaring Free and Perfect Soul, and the Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Saturday. The Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III), which produced last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cajun Beat, will feature last year's red-hot 2-year-old, Cuvee, trained by Steve Asmussen.