The $300,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes (gr. I), scheduled for Aug. 28 but postponed when Saratoga canceled racing because of Hurricane Irene, will have the same field when it’s run Sept. 3. Entries were taken again and post positions re-drawn Aug. 31.
The Personal Ensign is one of three grade I events on the Saturday at the upstate New York racetrack. The others are the Woodward Stakes and Forego Stakes.
Havre de Grace, one of the top fillies in the country, took a pass on the Personal Ensign and will instead face colts in the Woodward.
Farnsworth Stables’ Ask the Moon, winner of the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), is among the six in the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign. Ask the Moon won the Ruffian by 5 3/4 impressive lengths.
Six-year-old Ask the Moon was claimed by Farnsworth for $75,000 in June and has paid big dividends. In her second start for her new owner and first start under the care of trainer Marty Wolfson, the Malibu Moon mare went wire-to-wire in the 1 1/8-mile Ruffian—her graded stakes debut.
Ask the Moon has produced a record of 9-5-7 from 31 starts and earnings of $533,640. Javier Castellano will have the mount.
Wolfson noted Ask the Moon has never raced at 1 1/4 miles but "seems like she'll go that far."
Bobby Flay’s Super Espresso finished a distant second in the Ruffian, her third consecutive time hitting the board in graded action. The 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly was third in the June 18 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) two starts back and won the May 21 Allaire DuPont Distaff (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course prior to that.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Super Espresso took seven tries to break her maiden as a 3-year-old, but has steadily improved in 2011, winning three times for Pletcher. Ramon Dominguez will ride.
Carol V. Ricks’ Tiz Miz Sue finished third in the Ruffian but was disqualified and placed fourth for interference in the stretch. The 4-year-old Tiznow filly finished second to Havre de Grace in her previous start, the June 11 Obeah (gr. III) at Delaware Park. She seeks her first graded stakes win.
The other stakes winner in the field is Pachattack, who delivered in the May 28 Arlington Matron (gr. III) on Polytrack in her United States debut. The 5-year-old Pulpit mare enters off a fifth-place effort in the Aug. 13 Beverly D. (gr. IT) on the Arlington turf course. She has five wins in 23 lifetime starts, most of which came in England.
“She’s very, very good,” said Butler’s assistant trainer, Andrew Morris, who has Pachattack stabled in Pletcher’s barn at Saratoga. “The decision to try dirt was between the owner and trainer. She’s by Pulpit out of a stakes-producing mare. She has broodmare potential.
"We don’t know how she’ll perform until we try her on it, but all she has to do is translate her form from the Polytrack and she’ll perform well.”
Formerly contested as the John A. Morris Handicap, the race was renamed in 1998 for the only American champion filly or mare to retire undefeated.
$300,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 4:39 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/4 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Acronym (KY), J Lezcano, 116, W Mott
2. Ask the Moon (MD), J Castellano, 120, M D Wolfson
3. Pachattack (KY), R Maragh, 116, G A Butler
4. Protesting (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, C R McGaughey III
5. Super Expresso (KY), R Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher
6. Tiz Miz Sue (KY), J Rocco Jr., 116, S Hobby