Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek moved to the front on the outside of her rivals at the quarter pole and blasted away from the field for an 11 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), her fourth grade I win at Belmont Park.
Ridden by John Velazquez, who was subbing for injured Jerry Bailey, the 5-year-old mare Sightseek remained unbeaten in five lifetime starts at Belmont, beating an overmatched field of four rivals in perhaps the least competitive Ruffian in its 29 runnings.
Trainer Bobby Frankel saddled the winner.
"I always get nervous when I send out a 1-5 shot," said Frankel, who won this race last year with Wild Spirit. "Honestly, I thought she would be shorter than that. I thought she would pay $2.20. I think that $2.50 was a generous price for her."
Frankel said having a horse for the Belmont course might convince him keep Sightseek around for the $750,000 Beldame (gr. I) at nine furlongs on Oct. 9. That would still give him three weeks to the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park, Texas on October 30.
"Everyone is worried about the Breeders' Cup," Frankel said. "If I run her in the Beldame, she will be a short price in there. Why give away $750,000? We'll see how she comes out and how she's acting. Maybe we'll come back in the Beldame. Maybe not. I'm just worried about the Beldame right now.
"I think the main reason she has done so well on this track is because you can sit and take a hold of her. She's a big filly with a big stride and the big turns really help. I know she likes this track. She might even be able to beat boys on this track. I wish the Breeders' Cup were here."
The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares was 1:41 2/5 on a fast track.
"That was as easy as you can have it," said Velazquez, who also won the Ruffian in 1996 with Yanks Music. "It's amazing. When I gave her a couple of taps, it felt like she was walking. She was going at an unbelievable rhythm. I like this kind."
Pacesetting Pocus Hocus (:23 3/5, :46) finished second by 2 1/2 lengths with Miss Loren, slow into stride for Jon Court, closing for third. She edged Class Above, who led after six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 before giving way to Sightseek two furlongs from home. Bounding Charm was last.
Well in hand after a good break, Sightseek advanced on the leaders while three wide on the turn and quickly drew away while widening the advantage under a hand ride.
A chestnut beauty who has won four of five at the 1 1/16-mile distance, Sightseek was coming off a second-place finish behind Azeri in the Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 1.
She carried high weight of 122 pounds, conceding five to 14 pounds to her rivals.
Sightseek, by Distant View
out of the dam Viviana, by Nureyev, has now won 11 of 19 lifetime starts with five seconds. The victory, worth $180,000, increased her career earnings to $1,995,216.
She paid $2.50 and $2.10. Pocus Hocus returned $2.10 and the duo combined for a $10 exacta.