Personal Ensign Stakes

Dependable Nest Seeks Shuvee-Personal Ensign Spa Double

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - By his measured standard, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher--rarely one to over-hype his horses-- practically gushes when he talks about Nest (Curlin). "She's just pure class in everything she does," Pletcher said. "If they were all like her, it'd be a much easier game than it actually is." Co-owner Mike Repole, an enthusiastic promoter of his horses, talks about the 4-year-old in almost reverential terms. "I've been blessed to have so many special, great horses, but she has a brilliance about her," Repole said. "The...

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Played Hard Could Start Next in Grade I Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Though Rigney Racing's Played Hard (Into Mischief) will miss the GII Shuvee because of a fever, trainer Phillip Bauer said Friday that she might run in the GI Personal Ensign on Aug. 25. Bauer said it's a moving target that he could set his sights on. "We'll hopefully get time to get a breeze into her next week and see what she does," he said. Another possible start could be in the GIII Locust Grove on Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs in the race she won...

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Skipping Shuvee, Secret Oath Targets Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Though Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas rarely passes on big stakes opportunities, he is skipping the GII Shuvee S. Sunday with Secret Oath (Arrogate). After she turned in an uncharacteristic dull performance in the June 10 GI Ogden Phipps S., Lukas and the 4-year-old filly's breeder-owners Robert and Stacy Mitchell are using a little-bit-less-is-more approach at Saratoga Race Course. "She's really, really doing well," Lukas said Wednesday morning, "but we have made a decision to run here only once. We're trying to space her...

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Jack Christopher to Cut Back in Distance for Allen Jerkens

Jack Christopher (Munnings), who suffered his first career loss when third in his two-turn debut in the GI Haskell S. at Monmouth Park Saturday, is expected to cut back to one turn in the Aug. 27 GI H. Allen Jerkens S. at Saratoga next time out. "The horse ran really well and I thought he had a good trip," trainer Chad Brown said. "He got a little quick on the final turn when they moved from [the half-mile in] :46 into [three-quarters in] 1:09. That probably emptied him a...

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Spinster Likely Next for Letruska

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Though he quickly conceded that things could change, trainer Fausto Gutierrez said Sunday that GI Personal Ensign winner Letruska (Super Saver) is headed to the GI Breeders' Distaff, not the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. "I think it will be with the mares. I think this is the correct decision," he said. "I think there is a group where she is the leader. Anyway, this can change in any moment. You never know." The Personal Ensign was Letruska's fourth-straight graded stakes victory, three of them Grade Is,...

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Week in Review: Faves Fail to Show on Saturday, but Excuses Abound

This past Saturday wasn't a great day to be a favorite in an open stakes race at the nation's premier race meets. Chalk horses went a collective one-for-seven at Saratoga and Del Mar, and the list of excuses included stutter-step starts, bumps leaving the gate, stretch-run roughhousing, getting disqualified, and being dueled into defeat in internal pace battles. Tight finishes in several stakes elevated the interest level, although the results in general did not lend clarity to the nationwide divisional races with the GI Kentucky Derby inside the five-week mark...

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Giant's Causeway's Vexatious Gets Better of 'Bisou' in Personal Ensign

Champion Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) was bet like she could not lose Saturday's GI Personal Ensign S. at 1-5, but apparently no one told 9-1 shot Vexatious (Giant's Causeway). The Calumet runner refused to yield to the Eclipse winner in the final furlong of the Saratoga stretch to secure a spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff. Stakes winner Motion Emotion (Take Charge Indy) went straight to the front with Vexatious stalking in a close-up second and Midnight Bisou just off of them in third through...

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'Bisou' Seeks to Defend Personal Ensign Title

Champion Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) will attempt to successfully defend her title in Saturday's GI Personal Ensign S. at Saratoga. Winner of seven of eight starts last year, including three Grade Is, the bay followed her win in this event with a facile score in the GI Beldame S. at Belmont in September. She suffered her sole loss last season in the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff Nov. 2, but had still done more than enough to secure the Eclipse Award as top older mare. Running last most of the way...

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