10/21/2003 11:00PM

Bailey's position turned inside-out


ARCADIA, Calif. - When Sightseek drew an inside post position in the Beldame Stakes three weeks ago at Belmont Park, jockey Jerry Bailey deftly guided her to the outside to launch her winning rally. Bailey will get to save a step on Saturday.

Sightseek, who in the absence of Azeri should rule as a heavy favorite in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita, landed post 5 when seven fillies were entered in the race on Wednesday. The position brought a smile to the face of her trainer, Bobby Frankel, who called it "perfect."

"It fits with her style, that's for sure," Frankel said after posts were determined at Santa Anita. "I think it's a perfect post."

Sightseek, a 4-year-old daughter of Distant View who was bred and is owned by the Juddmonte Farms of Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, enters the Distaff having won four consecutive Grade 1 races. If she wins the Distaff, she will secure an Eclipse Award as champion older filly or mare.

In the Beldame, Sightseek drew post 2 in a seven-horse field. But after being taken to the outside by Bailey, she swooped effortlessly past the leaders and went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths.

"He rode Sightseek like he knew he was on much the best horse," Frankel said. "He had her in the clear all the way."

The Beldame, like the Distaff, is at 1 1/8 miles. At Belmont Park, however, that race is around one turn - it is a two-turn race at Santa Anita. Sightseek finished second in three consecutive races at Santa Anita earlier this year, including twice going 1 1/8 miles.

The Distaff usually has the smallest field of the Breeders' Cup races. This will be the sixth time in 20 runnings that the Distaff has had no more than seven runners. Only six competed in 1987 and 1996.

Jeff Tufts, Santa Anita's morning-line maker, installed Sightseek as the 6-5 favorite. Got Koko, who has won five times in seven starts and comes off a victory in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita, is the second choice at 2-1.

The only Distaff runner who did any serious training Wednesday morning was Adoration, who zipped a half-mile in 46.40 seconds with her regular rider, Patrick Valenzuela. The time was the second best of 29 at the distance.

Buy the Sport arrived Wednesday after a flight from New York. Take Charge Lady was scheduled to arrive here on Thursday after a flight from Kentucky. The final Distaff runner who will arrive at Santa Anita is Sightseek, who will be sent by van on Friday from Hollywood Park.

The field, from the rail out, including Tufts's line, is: Take Charge Lady (Edgar Prado the rider), 8-1; Adoration (Valenzuela), 20-1; Lady Tak (Pat Day), 12-1; Buy the Sport (John Velazquez), 20-1; Sightseek (Bailey), 6-5; Elloluv (Corey Nakatani), 9-2; and Got Koko (Alex Solis), 2-1.

The head-to-head matchup in this race pits the 3-year-old filly Elloluv against the 4-year-old filly Take Charge Lady. Both have front-running styles.