03/12/2004 12:00AM

Two titans meet in Rampart


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Bobby Frankel has won graded stakes with the last four horses he has sent to Gulfstream Park. Owner Joe Allen is 5 for 5 at this meet, with three graded stakes victories. Allen's trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, is winning at a 52-percent clip this winter.

So it will be the immovable object versus the irresistible force when the Frankel-trained in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

So imposing are these horsemen and their fillies, that only two other horses, Lead Story and Redoubled Miss, entered the race. The Rampart will go as race 6 on the 12-race card.

Sightseek won four Grade 1 races last year and was an Eclipse finalist for champion older filly and mare. She was fourth as the favorite in last October's Breeders' Cup Distaff, and fourth again in the Santa Monica Handicap in January. Those races were run at Santa Anita, where Sightseek is 0 for 5. She is 8 for 8 elsewhere on dirt.

Frankel says he believes Sightseek simply dislikes Santa Anita. If he's right, and if Sightseek handles Gulfstream like she has Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and Saratoga, she should win this race. Sightseek is the 121-pound highweight and will break from post 3 under Jerry Bailey.

"I think her stride is so big that it's not efficient on that track," Frankel said. "She just doesn't handle it right."

Sightseek figures to be stalking Roar Emotion - who breaks from the rail under John Velazquez and carries 118 pounds Sunday. Roar Emotion has accounted for two of Allen's five wins at the meet, including a front-running score in the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap.

"I strongly feel like [Sightseek] is the one to beat," McLaughlin said. "This will tell us where we stand in the division. If we're able to beat Sightseek, then we belong with the best of them."

If Sightseek and Roar Emotion somehow burn each other out on the front end, Lead Story, a confirmed closer, could pick up the pieces. In her first start of the year, Lead Story finished 6 1/4 lengths behind Roar Emotion in the Sabin.

"I need the first half a mile to be really fast, nose to nose, stirrup to stirrup," said Carl Nafzger, who trains Lead Story. "She improved three or four lengths off her last race to put her solidly into this category."