11/27/2002 12:00AM

Youths put elders to test in Top Flight

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Mandy's Gold and Nasty Storm are older and more accomplished than Sightseek and Alchemilla, but Friday's $150,000 Top Flight Handicap could very well come down to the two exciting 3-year-old filly prospects.

Three-year-olds Sightseek and Alchemilla have combined to win seven of eight starts, but will be facing their toughest competition to date in the Grade 2 Top Flight, run at one mile over Aqueduct's main track.

Sightseek, a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Tates Creek, did not make it to the races until July 28, when she won her maiden by 7 3/4 lengths. After losing a turf allowance race, she won a dirt allowance at Belmont by 12 lengths before taking the Grade 3 Raven Run at Keeneland by 3 1/2 lengths.

In the Raven Run, Sightseek was caught behind horses around the turn and into the stretch, before altering course and splitting horses in midstretch to win comfortably.

"She had no place to run," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "On the sheets, I would have fit in the Breeders' Cup [Distaff]."

Jerry Bailey, who enters Friday's card four stakes wins shy of Mike Smith's record 66 in a year, has the call from post 7. Sightseek will carry 113 pounds, seven fewer than Mandy's Gold.

Looking at the field, Frankel mentioned Alchemilla as the horse to beat.

Alchemilla, a half-sister to stakes winners Bertolini and Amelia, has won her last three starts. Following a May 10 allowance race, Alchemilla suffered an ankle injury, which trainer Shug McGaughey dealt with conservatively. He gave her the summer off before bringing her back on Oct. 17 in a third-level allowance race, which she won by 6 1/4 lengths.

McGaughey, who has won the Top Flight twice, is very high on Alchemilla, who gets in with 112 pounds and breaks from post 6 under Javier Castellano. "I've always thought she had a chance to be a pretty good filly," McGaughey said. "All her races have been good. I think she's as good as I've seen. Whether she proves it Friday or not, who knows? She will one day; hopefully, it will be Friday."

Mandy's Gold, a 4-year-old, is enjoying her best year, with five victories, including the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap. She is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, a race in which trainer Michael Gorham would have liked her closer to the pace.

"I'm expecting her to be much more forwardly placed," he said.

Nasty Storm, who upset the Gallant Bloom at Belmont in October, will try to stretch out to a mile and could be the speed of the field from the rail under Rene Douglas.

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