09/16/2004 11:00PM

Sightseek towers over Ruffian rivals


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sightseek has been the odds-on favorite in several races that she lost, including her last start in the Go for Wand, but on Sunday she should not be beaten.

Sightseek, undefeated in four starts at Belmont Park, will be a very short-priced favorite against four overmatched rivals in the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap.

The Ruffian is part of an NTRA National Pick 4 with a guaranteed pool of $400,000, which also includes the Matron and Futurity at Belmont and the Atto Mile at Woodbine. All four races will be televised live on ABC between 4 and 6 p.m. Eastern.

As the 122-pound highweight, Sightseek concedes five to 14 pounds to the rest of the field in the 1 1/16-mile Ruffian.

At Belmont, Sightseek has won three Grade 1 races - the Ogden Phipps in 2003 and 2004, and the 2003 Beldame. She also won an allowance race here as a 3-year-old in 2002.

Sightseek finished second to Azeri by 1 3/4 lengths in the Go for Wand after a stretch-long battle. Following the Go for Wand, trainer Bobby Frankel skipped the Personal Ensign and set his sights on the Ruffian and Beldame, which will be run at Belmont on Oct. 9. One of the reasons Frankel passed on the Personal Ensign was because he felt Sightseek had a trying race in the Go for Wand.

"Those horses ran hard in the Go for Wand, and I didn't want to let my ego get carried away in thinking I had to beat Azeri in the Personal Ensign," said Frankel, who won last year's Ruffian with Wild Spirit.

If the track is wet, it should only enhance Sightseek's chances, since she won the Ogden Phipps here last year in the slop by five lengths over Take Charge Lady.

With Jerry Bailey, Sightseek's regular rider, sidelined with a broken wrist, John Velazquez has the call. Sightseek drew post 3.

Miss Loren won last month's Grade 2 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar for trainer Luis Seglin. Seglin said Miss Loren's owner, Maria Bago, is giving thought to supplementing the mare to the Breeders' Cup Distaff to the tune of $180,000.

"By coming to New York, we are trying to see what kind of horse we have," Seglin said.

Jon Court rides Miss Loren from post 4.

Bounding Charm has won her last two starts, including a 2 1/4-length win in the slop in the Waya Stakes at Saratoga. Pocus Hocus hasn't run since finishing fourth in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth on July 4. A severe case of colic sidelined her for the rest of the summer. She is cross-entered at Monmouth on Sunday.

Class Above is the only 3-year-old in the field.