08/01/2004 11:00PM

Frankel hot to take on Azeri again


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Bobby Frankel said Monday he is itching to take on Azeri again with Sightseek. Frankel will get his wish. Azeri, the 1 3/4-length winner of Sunday's Grade 1 Go for Wand, and Sightseek, the runner-up, will meet next in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 27.

Before and after the Go for Wand was run, Frankel expressed displeasure with the weight that Sightseek conceded to Azeri, who carried 120 pounds, two fewer than Sightseek. When they met in the Ogden Phipps in June at Belmont Park, Sightseek, the winner, was in receipt of three pounds from Azeri, who finished last.

On Monday, outside his Saratoga barn, Frankel said, "No comment" when asked about the Go for Wand weights. "I said enough yesterday. Now we've got to beat [Azeri] next time."

Frankel said the weights ultimately didn't have any bearing on the outcome of the Go for Wand because of the way the race was run.

"I couldn't beat her at equal weights yesterday," he said. "Azeri got a 24 quarter, and you don't beat a filly like Azeri when they go a 24 quarter. She was the only horse I was worried about. We have to lick our wounds and sit still to the next one."

The Personal Ensign could be the last time Sightseek and Azeri run against each other, provided they are retired at the end of their 2004 campaigns. After Sightseek won the Ogden Phipps, Frankel said he had mapped out a four-race plan for the 5-year-old - the Go for Wand, Personal Ensign, Ruffian, and Beldame. Frankel said the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30 was not part of the agenda because Sightseek probably wouldn't care for the track surface.

Wayne Lukas, Azeri's trainer, is pointing Azeri to the Breeders' Cup.

After Azeri runs in the Personal Ensign, Lukas said, "We might just train her up to the Breeders' Cup or run her once more in the Spinster. These championships are decided in the fall, not in the spring."

Pat Day, who rode Azeri to victory in the Go for Wand, was at Lukas's barn on Monday. Day, who was aboard Azeri when she lost the Metropolitan Mile and Ogden Phipps at Belmont, said he was getting positive vibes from Azeri as they headed into the first turn of the Go for Wand.

"The first eighth of a mile was so crucial to me from a confidence level," Day said. "She was in the bridle, and that spoke volumes. I don't think she likes [Belmont]."

The Go for Wand was Azeri's first victory since the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April.

Niigon due in for Jim Dandy

Queen's Plate winner Niigon is scheduled to arrive from Canada on Thursday to run in Sunday's $500,000 Jim Dandy.

Niigon won the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of Canada's Triple Crown, on June 27 at Woodbine. In the next leg, Niigon finished a narrowly beaten second in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie on July 18. The final race in the series, the Breeders' Stakes, is run on the turf at 1 1/2 miles at Woodbine on Sunday.

Eric Coatrieux, who trains Niigon for Robert and Mark Krembil, said running in the Jim Dandy is a better plan for Niigon, who is unraced on the turf.

"We had the option of the third leg, but it just doesn't make sense to do that," Coatrieux said. "He's improving a lot with every race. He was unlucky in his last race in that he just got beat at the line."

Niigon lost his first six starts by a combined margin of more than 59 lengths while wearing blinkers. When Coatrieux removed the blinkers, Niigon won a maiden race by 6 3/4 lengths. Two starts later, he won the Queen's Plate.

"There was a point where I didn't know what to do with him, so we took off the blinkers, and it seemed to work," Coatrieux said.

Robert Landry will ride Niigon in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

In addition to Niigon, the other expected runners are Courageous Act, Eddington, Purge, and The Cliff's Edge. Trainer Allen Jerkens said he was considering working Medallist on Tuesday, and if the horse works well, he will run in Jim Dandy. Last Friday, Jerkens was unhappy with Medallist's mile work and said he might skip the race.

Trainer Rick Violette said he probably would enter Swingforthfences in both the Jim Dandy and Saturday's $600,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track, and look at the fields and post positions before selecting a spot.

"If he drew wide at Mountaineer, that would finish it for running there," Violette said.

Purge worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.10 seconds on Monday on the main track. Eddington worked the same distance in 1:00.44.

Sarava joins Whitney probables

Trainer Bob Baffert said from California on Monday that Sarava would run in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney. Baffert had hoped to run Sarava in an allowance race here on Monday that didn't fill, as a prep for the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Aug. 22.

Sarava, who will be a longshot in the Whitney, joins a field that is expected to include Peace Rules, Perfect Drift, Seattle Fitz, Roses in May, Midway Road, Newfoundland, Gygistar, Bowman's Band, and Yessirgeneralsir. Peace Rules is the 121-pound highweight.

On Monday, Midway Road worked five furlongs in 59.26 seconds, Newfoundland covered the same distance in 1:00.77, and Gygistar went a half-mile in 48.34.

Scratched filly not injured

Board Elligible, who was scratched behind the gate before the start of the Go for Wand by chief examining veterinarian Celeste Kunz, did not injure herself, but was in season.

Kunz, who examined Board Elligible on Monday, said fillies and mares who are in heat sometimes appear lame because they are traveling uncomfortably behind.

At the time of the scratch, Board Elligible was the longest price on the tote board at 32-1.

* One winning pick six ticket, purchased in Las Vegas, returned $342,400 on Sunday. No favorites were among the winners in the pick six, which featured a one-day carryover. The horse with the highest-priced mutuel was Cheetah Speed ($27.60) in the finale.