10/08/2002 11:00PM

Sightseek proves her quality


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sightseek justified her overwhelming favoritism Wednesday at Keeneland, overcoming a stop-and-start trip when she easily defeated 11 other 3-year-old fillies in the $171,900 Raven Run Stakes.

With Jerry Bailey riding for trainer Bobby Frankel, Sightseek returned $3.80 after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.98 over a fast track. Miss Lodi, the 5-1 second choice, finished 3 1/4 lengths behind in second while Respectful, a 21-1 shot, was just a head farther back in third.

Frankel was beaming after the Grade 3 Raven Run, saying he believes Sightseek, who was making just her fourth career start, is better than her half-sister Tates Creek, a multiple graded stakes winner also bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms.

"This is a very good quality filly," he said. "If she stays together, and she's 100 percent right now, we're going to be in good shape for next year."

Before 8,731 people who turned out on a cool, overcast afternoon, Sightseek broke in the back flight before Bailey nudged her into early contention. After a quarter-mile, she was near the rail in fifth position while Bailey tried to keep her from running up on other horses heels. She had to hesitate several times before angling back toward the rail and into clear sailing, after which she pulled away in the final furlong.

"She was off a step slow, and I felt like I had to send her a little bit to get position because the inside is so good here," he said. "She's a nice one."

The Raven Run was the stakes debut of Sightseek, a chestnut by Distant View out of the Nureyev mare Viviana. In her previous start, Sightseek, now a winner in 3 of 4 starts, won a Sept. 20 entry-level allowance at Belmont by 12 lengths.

The 7-9 exacta paid $17.80 and the 7-9-8 trifecta paid $236.60.