|Daily Racing Form|
|Friday, October 8
|Sightseek to bid adieu in Beldame|
By Karen M. Johnson
Daily Racing Form
ELMONT, N.Y. -- In what will likely be the last race of a glorious career, Sightseek will defend her title in Saturday's Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park.
The $750,000 Beldame is one of four stakes that serve as Breeders' Cup preps on the card. The others are the Grade 1 Champagne, Grade 1 Frizette, and Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap. The Champagne will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern. The New York Racing Association will offer a $400,000 guaranteed pick four that covers the Champagne, Kelso, Beldame, and final race of the day.
Regardless of where Sightseek finishes in the six-horse Beldame, she will enter the breeding shed with more than $2 million in earnings from 20 career starts.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Sightseek is coming off an 11 3/4-length win in the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap here on Sept. 19. The Ruffian was Sightseek's fifth win in as many starts at Belmont.
Sightseek, owned by Juddmonte Farms, met a weak field in the Ruffian, but the competition is much stiffer in the 1 1/8-mile Beldame. Sightseek, the probable favorite, will meet Grade 1 winners Storm Flag Flying and Society Selection, both of whom are being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.
Nevermore, Board Elligible, and Personal Legend complete the field.
Frankel has never been keen on running Sightseek in this year's Breeders' Cup because he fears the powerfully built mare wouldn't care for Lone Star Park's tighter turns.
For Frankel, the Beldame will be farewell to one of his favorite runners.
"She has been good to me and I want to be good to her," Frankel said. "I'm not looking to get another year out of her. If she can win this and goes home in one piece, I will feel good."
Javier Castellano rides Sightseek, who drew the rail. With the absence of any true speed horses in the field, Frankel said, "she'll end up being on the lead, and I'm fine with that."
Frankel also entered Personal Legend, who is not coupled in the wagering with Sightseek and will be a longshot. Personal Legend is without a win in three starts on the dirt.
Storm Flag Flying finished behind Sightseek the two times they've met this year, in the Ogden Phipps and the Go for Wand.
Shug McGaughey, Storm Flag Flying's trainer, said he thinks his filly is at her racing peak.
Storm Flag Flying, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2002, won the Grade 1 Personal Ensign over Azeri at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
"All her races this year have gotten better and better," McGaughey said. "I think her race on Saturday will be a lot better than any of her races this year."
Society Selection is the lone 3-year-old in the field. Three-year-olds have fared very well in the Beldame, winning five of the last 10 runnings.
Society Selection, who won the Grade 1 Frizette here last year, is extremely versatile. This year at Saratoga, she won the Grade 1 Alabama at 1 1/4 miles, three weeks after winning the Grade 1 Test at seven furlongs. Trainer Allen Jerkens looks like he has the filly primed for a top effort with several sharp works since the Alabama.
Jerkens said Society Selection does her best running when she has a target.
"She seems to run much better when she makes the one big run," Jerkens said. "If it comes up that she has to be closer to the [pace], then I hope the jockey will be able to realize that, and I hope she'll be able to handle it."
Cornelio Velasquez rides Society Selection, who drew post 5.
Nevermore finished third behind Storm Flag Flying and Azeri in the Personal Ensign, her stakes debut. New York-bred Board Elligible was fourth in the Personal Ensign.
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