04/26/2004 11:00PM

Sightseek stares down six


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Last year, Sightseek registered her first career Grade 1 victory when she took the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.

Friday, Sightseek returns to Kentucky, where she will be heavily favored to win the Grade 2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap, one of five stakes on Friday's Kentucky Oaks undercard. First post Friday is 11 a.m.

Sightseek has never lost on dirt outside of Santa Anita, where she is 0 for 5 including a fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in last October's Breeders' Cup Distaff. She returned to form with a dominating 7 1/2-length win in last month's Grade 2 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

As the 122-pound highweight, Sightseek will be conceding six to 12 pounds to six rivals, including Yell, the third-place finisher in the 2003 Kentucky Oaks, and Lead Story, a multiple stakes winner over this course last fall.

Jerry Bailey will ride Sightseek, who drew post 2 in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Stakes winners Cat Fighter, La Reason, Pocus Hocus, and My Ro, who is 4 for 4 on dirt, complete the field.

Kitten's Joy heads Crown Royal field

Kitten's Joy, unbeaten in four starts on turf, will be the one to beat Friday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf, run at 1 1/16 miles.

Owned by Ken Ramsey and trained by Dale Romans, Kitten's Joy is coming off victories in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby in January and the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes in February. Prince Arch, second to Kitten's Joy in the Palm Beach, came back to win the Forerunner at Keeneland and will be the major threat on Friday.

Grand Heritage, who was beaten only a head and a neck by Kitten's Joy in an allowance race here last year, will get blinkers for Bill Mott.

Fiscally Speaking vs. Testify in Aegon

Fiscally Speaking and Testify, the last two winners of the Aegon Turf Sprint, square off in Friday's 10th renewal of the Grade 3, $100,000 turf race run at five furlongs.

Testify won this race in 2002, but had to settle for third last year behind Fiscally Speaking, who won at odds of 47-1. Mighty Beau, who finished fourth, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths in this race last year, returns to Kentucky after spending the fall and winter in California.

Inaugural Alysheba a beauty

Perfect Drift, last year's Stephen Foster Handicap winner, and Sarava, the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, head a strong field of 11 entered for the inaugural $100,000 Alysheba Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Perfect Drift, who won four graded stakes on dirt last year, finished eighth in the Maker's Mark Mile on turf at Keeneland on April 9. He has won graded events the last two times he went turf to dirt.

Sarava has lost the only three starts he has made since winning the 2002 Belmont at odds of 70-1. He will be reunited with Edgar Prado, who engineered that memorable upset.

Congrats, who earned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure winning a classified allowance at Keeneland, and Spanish Empire, winner of the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park, are other contenders in the field.

Edgewood looks wide open

With multiple stakes winner Lucifer's Stone staying home, the $100,000 Edgewood for 3-year-old fillies on turf is anybody's race.

Baxter Hall, trained by Tony Reinstedler, may rate a slight edge coming off two solid wins on turf. Galloping Gal, who won a minor stakes at Keeneland last fall, takes the blinkers off after two poor efforts this year.

Vous won the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at Calder in November and is coming off a second-place finish behind Minge Cove in the Via Borghese at Gulfstream last month.

Grade 1 winner Startac returns Thursday

Startac, a Grade 1 winner on turf who has been sidelined for 19 months, returns to the races Thursday in a $64,300 classified allowance at nine furlongs. The seven-horse field includes graded stakes winners Dr. Kashnikow, Orchard Park, Senor Swinger, and the mare Spice Island.

Startac, a 6-year-old son of Theatrical, won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in 2001 at Arlington Park. He lost seven consecutive races thereafter before taking the Grade 2 Belmont Breeders' Cup in September 2002.

Startac has been sidelined since because of a strained suspensory ligament.

"He could probably use the race, in all fairness," trainer Bill Mott said. "We got a fair amount of training in him. If we were expecting him to win first time out, we'd have trained him a little longer."

Honor in War prepares for defense

The turf course was open for training here Wednesday, and action was brisk, with 27 horses taking the opportunity to work, including a couple of leading candidates for Saturday's Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Handicap.

Honor in War, the reigning Woodford Reserve champion, worked five furlongs around the dogs in 1:03.60 for trainer Paul McGee and appears to be coming up to another big effort in defense of his title. A stretch-running son of Lord at War, Honor in War has had two races under his belt since concluding his 2003 campaign with a second-place finish to Perfect Soul in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Honor in War will be stretching back out to perhaps his most effective distance of 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

Burning Sun was clocked in 1:07.40 for five furlongs around the dogs Wednesday and, like Honor in War, will be making the third start of his current form cycle in the Woodford Reserve. A Group 2 winner in Europe, Burning Sun won his U.S. debut under allowance conditions at Santa Anita on Feb. 29.

Perfect Soul is likely to go off a slight favorite in the Woodford Reserve due to his half-length victory in Keeneland's Maker's Mark Mile on April 9. Kicken Kris also figures to attract a good deal of action, having finished third, a half-length behind Hard Buck, in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Among the others expected to run in the Woodford Reserve are Mystery Giver, Skate Away, Stage Call, and Sweet Return.

Consolation offered in Derby contest

Churchill is offering a $25,000 consolation prize to the person who goes the deepest in predicting the correct order of finish in its second annual online Derby payday contest. In the improbable event that someone picks the correct order from first to last, the prize is $5 million.

Last year, when four contestants picked the first four finishers in order, Churchill did not offer a consolation payoff.

About 170,000 people registered to play last year, and more are expected this year, said Karl Schmitt, president of the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network. Players are limited to one set of selections. More information is available on ketucky-derby.com.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Mike Welsch