05/19/2007 11:00PM

Sightseeing by nose in Peter Pan


Sightseeing needed every inch of the Belmont Park stretch to run down Prom Shoes and win Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes by a nose to perhaps earn a berth in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Prom Shoes finished second by a neck over Fearless Vision. It was 6 1/4 lengths back to Hal's My Hope, who was followed in the order of finish by Sir Whimsey and Soaring By. Vitruvius was scratched after developing a skin rash.

In his first start since finishing second in the Wood Memorial, Sightseeing trailed in the early stages of the Peter Pan before advancing into contention down the backstretch under Edgar Prado. The field was pretty well bunched up behind soft fractions of 24.35 seconds, 47.80 and 1:12.21.

Prom Shoes, under John Velazquez took over from the pace-setting duo of Soaring By and Hal's My Hope midway around the far turn and Fearless Vision set sail after Prom Shoes approaching the quarter pole.

Sightseeing rallied widest of all in the stretch and persevered under Prado to get past Fearless Vision and then Prom Shoes in the final jump. Sightseeing, a son of Pulpit owned and bred by Ogden Mills Phipps and trained by Shug McGaughey, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.89 and returned $3.20 as the 3-5 favorite.

"Watching this race on TV, he was just galloping along behind those horses," McGaughey said. "Turning for home, I said, 'Hey, he never even asked him.' Then, when he asked him, he still really didn't know what to do. He needed to get two or three jumps before he got leveled off and going. When he steps it up, he isn’t going to have those two or three jumps. He'll learn. This will be good for him."

McGaughey has often said that he would wait for races like the Jim Dandy in Saratoga to tackle the heavyweights of the 3-year-old division, but immediately after the race he didn't rule out running in the Belmont.

"We'll wait and see how he comes out of this," McGaughey said. "The Belmont is possible. Back at the Wood Memorial, just knowing the horse and where he was at mentally, I was thinking about the Jim Dandy [on July 29]. We'll see what happens. We're here and I am sure the Phipps would love to run in the Belmont if they thought they had a legitimate chance."

William Fires, the trainer of Prom Shoes, said his horse made the lead a little sooner than he wanted. Fires said he would leave the decision about the Belmont up to owner Patricia Blass.

Trainer Pat Reynolds was pleased with the effort of Fearless Vision, who was wide throughout, but said a decision regarding the Belmont would be made later.