The Personal Ensign Handicap is named after one of the greatest fillies of the modern era. Personal Ensign retired undefeated after winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in what was one of the most thrilling stretch drives in the history of racing. Let’s take a look at the group of girls gathered to contest this 1 1/8 miles races.
#1 It’s Tricky (Mineshaft x Catboat by Tale of the Cat) 2-1: Kiaran McLaughlin opted for this spot and a battle with Royal Delta instead of going in the Ballerina on Friday. The distance of this race is a little past her optimal trip, but she did run second in the Ladies Classic last year. Jockey Eddie Castro will press the pace and hope to hold off the late run of the champ.
#2 Brushed by a Star (Eddington x Brush Hour by Broad Brush) 15-1: Streaking filly has won three races in a row including a last out wire job in the Molly Pitcher Stakes. Derwin’s Star exited that race to be second in the Ballerina Stakes. She must improve by a wide margin to have a shot at the win, but she is a good candidate to hit the board. Corey Nakatani rides for Grant Forester.
#3 Love and Pride (A.P. Indy x Ile de France by Storm Cat) 12-1: She only knows one way and that is to gun for the front. The Grade 3 winning Todd Pletcher pupil will almost assuredly be burned up in a pace duel. In her favor, she is 1 for 1 at Saratoga and 4-2-0-1 at the distance. John Velazquez is listed to ride.
#4 Royal Delta (Empire Maker x Delta Princess by A.P. Indy) 4-5: The vaunted favorite delivered a beautiful win two back in the Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs. When Mike Smith stepped on the accelerator she was instantly gone and wound up the easiest of winners while eight lengths ahead of the runner up. That race might have taken a little out of her as she was only able to win the Delaware Handicap by a neck. If she runs a race somewhere between those two, the champion of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic is going to be in the winner’s circle. Mike Smith stays aboard for Bill Mott.
#5 R Gypsy Gold (Bernardini x Broadway Gold by Seeking the Gold) 15-1: Late runner should have plenty of pace to rally into which makes her a good threat to hit the board. Two tries at the distance haven’t worked out, but the breeding says she should handle it eventually. Todd Pletcher trains and JJ Castellano stays on as the pilot.
#6 Tiz Miz Sue (Tiznow x Sue’s Good News by Woodman) 6-1: The dark bay mare gave Royal Delta a scare in the Delaware Handicap. She figures to have a good shot at taking her down again as the pace will be hot and she gets nine pounds on her rival. People quickly forget how classy she has been in the past with wins in races like the Azeri Stakes. Joe Rocco makes the trip to ride for Steve Hobby.
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