Beautiful Pleasure and Heritage of Gold will begin their rematch from neighboring starting gate stalls as the two drew post positions two and three, respectively, for Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. The pair are co-highweighted at 124 pounds, conceding from 11 to 12 pounds to their three rivals.
Heritage of Gold has defeated Beautiful Pleasure, last year's champion older female, on two occasions this year, including a one length triumph over that rival in the Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in July. In the Go for Wand, however, Heritage of Gold was in receipt of a two-pound concession in the weights from 125-pound highweight Beautiful Pleasure. In the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign, they will race under an equal impost.
"She's got great tactical speed and she's very athletic out of the gate," said Heritage of Gold's trainer Tom Amoss. "She knows how to save energy. If the pace is hot, she'll sit off it. If it's mild, then she'll be positioned much closer. She was more relaxed and more professional last time out then she's ever been."
Beautiful Pleasure won last year's Personal Ensign under 113 pounds, receiving an 11-pound weight concession from runner-up Banshee Breeze. That 2 1/4-length win, on a sloppy track, was the first stakes victory of 1999 for Beautiful Pleasure, who went on to capture the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). Trainer John T. Ward Jr. has mapped out the same itinerary for the 5-year-old daughter of Maudlin.
"We've kind of mapped out a campaign for her which includes this race on Friday, then the Beldame, followed by the Breeders' Cup Distaff," Ward said. "Still, there's always room to adjust."
The field for the Personal Ensign -- with jockeys, weights and morning-line odds -- will consist of:
1--Back in Shape, Jerry Bailey, 112, 15-1
2--Beautiful Pleasure, Jorge Chavez, 124, 1-1
3--Heritage of Gold, Shane Sellers, 124, 4-5
4--Pentatonic, Robbie Davis, 113, 12-1
5--Up We Go, Pat Day, 113, 12-1