On Aug. 22, the Stronach Stables’ homebred will try something she has never done, as she will go 10 furlongs for the first time in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. She will take on six rivals in the main track event. Post time is set for 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Based on her past performances, going 1 1/4 miles does not figure to be an issue for Ginger Punch. She has won five times at nine furlongs—many of them comfortably—including the Sunshine Millions Distaff, in which she romped by 6 3/4 lengths in her 2008 debut. Most recently, the Florida-bred mare repeated in the Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga, also at 1 1/8 miles. It was her fourth win in five starts this season and the seventh graded stakes triumph of her career.
Bred in Florida and out of the Bold Revenue mare Nappelon, Ginger Punch has earned $2,705,603 from 19 starts. She has finished out of the money just once.
In preparation for the Personal Ensign, Ginger Punch breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 Aug. 15 at Saratoga for trainer Bobby Frankel. She will get regular rider, Rafael Bejarano, and carry 122 pounds, four to six more than her rivals.
Ginger Punch’s main competition could come from Lemon Drop Mom, Unbridled Belle, and Spring Waltz, who were second, third, and fourth, respectively, in the 10-furlong Delaware Handicap July 13. The race was won by Hystericalady, who finished a neck behind Ginger Punch in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Robert Evans’ Lemon Drop Mom is 0-for-3 in graded stakes and has just one win in five starts this season. It came in the Winter Melody Stakes May 17 at Delaware Park. Jose Caraballo will ride for trainer Tim Ritchey.
Team Valor International’s Unbridled Belle was 5 3/4 lengths back of Ginger Punch in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Unbridled Belle won her 2008 debut June 14 in the Obeah Stakes (gr. III) before finishing third the Delaware Handicap, a race she had won the previous year.
Spring Waltz, also saddled by Frankel for Stronach Stables, was entered with stablemate Ginger Punch in the Go for Wand, but was scratched. The 5-year-old daughter of Silver Charm had won four in a row, including the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream, before finishing 8 1/4 lengths back in the Delaware Handicap.
Donald Adam’s Indescribable, third in the Go for Wand, also merits consideration. Trained by Bill Mott, Indescribable encountered traffic problems in the Go for Wand, but still was only three lengths back in her first start on natural dirt in nearly a year. The 4-year-old Pleasant Tap filly won the 1 1/8-mile Arlington Matron (gr. III) May 26 for the first graded stakes victory of her career.
So Glitzy and Golden Velvet round out the field.
$400,000 Personal Ensign (gr. I, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. So Glitzy (FL), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Lemon Drop Mom (KY), 116, Jose C. Caraballo
3. Indescribable (KY), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Unbridled Belle (KY), 118, Ramon A. Dominguez
5. Ginger Punch (FL), 122, Rafael Bejarano
6. Golden Velvet (KY), 116, Eibar Coa
7. Spring Waltz (KY), 118, Javier Castellano