The 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares lost some luster when division leaders Blind Luck and Havre de Grace dropped out of the running, but includes the top three that crossed the wire in July 31 Ruffian. Ask the Moon won that race by 5 3/4 impressive lengths at odds of 18-1.
The Ruffian is the headliner on Saratoga’s 11-race Sunday card. Post time is scheduled for 5:56 p.m. EDT.
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.
The 120-pound high weight and 2-1 morning-line favorite, she has worked three times at her home base of Monmouth Park since that race.
“She’s training very well,” Wolfson said. “We claimed her because we – me and the owners – love Malibu Moon. She was one of those hard-knocking mares and she fit the program. It’s her first time at 1 1/4 miles. She seems like she’ll go that far.”
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.
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 (3-1) 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.
Completing the field is Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Acronym and Phipps Stable’s Protesting. Protesting won an optional claimer by nearly six lengths July 27 at Saratoga.
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 (gr. I, Race 10, 5:56 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/4 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Super Espresso (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher
2. Tiz Miz Sue (KY), J Rocco Jr., 116, S Hobby
3. Ask the Moon (MD), J Castellano, 120, M D Wolfson
4. Pachattack (KY), J Alvarado, 116, G A Butler
5. Acronym (KY), J Lezcano, 116, W I Mott
6. Protesting (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, C R McGaughey III