11/29/2002 12:00AM

Sightseek beats older fillies


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - While many people headed to the malls to do Christmas shopping, 6,427 fans showed up at Aqueduct to witness a promising 3-year-old filly win her first stakes against older fillies and mares.

Sightseek, who won the Grade 3 Raven Run in her last start at Keeneland, captured the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths over the 32-1 Zonk.

Zonk, the pacesetter of the mile race, finished three-quarters of a length in front of the third-place finisher, Nasty Storm. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to Mandy's Gold, who was followed under the wire by Willa on the Move, Sparkling Ava, Ellie's Moment, Unrestrained, and Alchemilla.

Jerry Bailey, who rode the favored Sightseek, said his filly was struck in the face by the whip of Zonk's rider, Chuck Lopez.

"They will respond one way or the other to [a whip in the face]," said Bailey, who won the Top Flight for the fourth time. "It made her more determined. She's pretty exceptional."

At the top of the stretch, it looked like anyone's race. Sightseek came to Zonk's outside in midstretch and edged away in the final sixteenth.

Sightseek's trainer, Bobby Frankel, said he had his doubts that his filly would reel in the tenacious pacesetter.

"I wasn't sure she was going to get to [Zonk]," Frankel said. "My filly is just a very nice filly. The farther she goes, the better."

Sightseek ($4.80) covered the distance in 1:35.46.

Frankel said Sightseek, a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Tates Creek, could run next in the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita on Dec. 28.

Sightseek, owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, is undefeated in four starts on the dirt. In her only loss, Sightseek finished second in a turf race.