11/24/2003 12:00AM

Frankel's stars staying home

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel abruptly canceled plans to run two of his stable stars, Sightseek and Medaglia d'Oro, in rich handicaps at Churchill Downs this week, saying he believed both horses were assigned excessive weight.

Sightseek, a winner of four Grade 1 races this year, was assigned 125 pounds for the Grade 2, $300,000 Falls City Handicap on Thursday, two pounds more than Take Charge Lady. Likewise, Medaglia d'Oro, a career earner of over $4.25 million, was assigned 125, six more than Tenpins, for the Grade 2, $500,000 Clark Handicap on Friday. Sightseek is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, while Medaglia d'Oro finished second in the Classic.

Frankel, speaking Monday from California, said he "wasn't upset with the weight spreads, but I thought they could have started with 123 and taken everyone down two more pounds. Both of my horses are coming off losses. The most that Medaglia d'Oro has ever carried in a handicap is 123, and the most Sightseek has ever carried [in a handicap] is 121.

"If they won, then they'd have to start off next year with 125" in handicap races. "If you go to another track, what are they going to do? They can't drop you in weight."

Both horses are scheduled to race next year at 5. Frankel said neither would race again this year. He said Medaglia d'Oro likely would be pointed for the March 6 Santa Anita Handicap and the March 27 Dubai World Cup.

The Frankel cancellations clearly diminish the star power of the Falls City and Clark, the traditional showcase events of the Churchill fall meet.

Churchill racing secretary Doug Bredar said that Sightseek and Medaglia d'Oro "are both very talented horses that have accomplished so much more than the other horses in the races. It wouldn't have been fair to the other participants to weigh them any differently. Obviously I'm disappointed in Bobby's decision, but we still have two extremely competitive races."

The defection of Sightseek leaves Take Charge Lady as a solid favorite in the Falls City, while Tenpins and Evening Attire now inherit the favorite's roles in the Clark.

Jerry Bailey was scheduled to ride both Frankel horses, and although he did have calls in other races for both days, agent Ron Anderson said the jockey would remain instead at Aqueduct.