Summer Colony made her case as the nation's top filly Friday afternoon with an emphatic 4 ½-length victory in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles.It was the 15th graded stakes win of the year for owner Edward P. Evans, who has achieved the mark with nine different horses.Having beaten Azeri earlier in the year in the La Canada (gr. II) at Santa Anita despite giving her rivals six pounds, Summer Colony gave trainer Mark Hennig plenty to crow about after her victory in the Personal Ensign."I feel she is the best filly," Hennig said, as Summer Colony's record improved to nien wins and four seconds from 17 starts. "It is not like Azeri came to us and we beat her. We went out there, gave her weight and beat her fair and square."In the Personal Ensign, Summer Colony and jockey John Velazquez responded to the challenge of her main rival, Dancethruthedawn and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who went out to the lead to set a reasonable pace of :23 1/5; :48 3/5 and 1:13 4/5.
But Summer Colony was kept close on the outside and when Velazquez asked, she responded to draw away a winner in 2:03 on the fast track."I was glad to see the race unfold the way it did," Hennig said. "I told (Velazquez) that (Bailey) might be the only one to send inside of you. This race was a lot less trauma on the heart than the last time (a neck victory in the Delaware Handicap)."Hennig said that the $750,000 Beldame (gr. I) at nine furlongs on October 5, part of Belmont Park's Fall Championship Meet, might be the next start for Summer Colony. "At this point, she doesn't need to have two turns," Hennig said. "I just think that is what made her turn the corner. The Spinster (gr. I) would be the other logical spot. "She was anxious to get out there and do it today. She is so fun because she let's you know what she's thinking. She was all business today. She stayed relaxed in the paddock and didn't get too hot. "We've had a little bit of a slow period at the beginning of the meet, but we just have to be patient and keep focusing on the program."Transcendental got up to get second, two lengths ahead of favored Dancethruthedawn."I don't think that running with Summer Colony early is what hurt us," said Dancethruthedawn's trainer, Mark Frostad. "I'm not sure that a mile and a quarter is her best trip. The winner was a convincing winner. We were both surprised to be on the lead. He wasn't going to take her back behind the other filly going :48 and change because weren't going to beat her that way, either."Transcendental has now run three straight seconds in Grade 1 competition, losing to another Hennig charge, Raging Fever - she will run in Sunday's Ballerina (gr. I) - and to Dancethruthedawn in the Go for Wand."The best horse won," said trainer H. James Bond. "She seems to have `seconditis;' when you run against horses like this, unfortunately that's the way it goes. She ran her best today, that's all you can say. She's in the right direction. She is very consistent. Unfortunately, there is another filly this year that is just a little bit better. Starrer, Two Item Limit and Critical Eye completed the order of finish.Summer Colony returned $3.70 and created a minus show pool of more than $7,000.(Chart, Equibase)