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Separationofpowers looks to consolidate resume in today’s Ballerina Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Klaravich Stables’ two-time Grade 1 winner Separationofpowers will look to add a third prestigious race to that list, staying at the same seven-furlong distance in which she won last out as part of an accomplished seven-horse field of fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up in the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina today, Travers Day, at Saratoga Race Course.

The 41st running of the Ketel One Ballerina, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park, is one of seven stakes and six Grade 1s on a packed card highlighted by the 150th Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. The day will also feature the $850,000 Sword Dancer; $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.

The “Mid-Summer Derby” will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30 to 5 p.m. Regional coverage of today’s Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude.

Seperationofpowers has thrived at Saratoga, winning her debut at the historic track in July 2017 as a juvenile before running third in the Grade 1 Spinaway the same year in September. As a sophomore, the Chad Brown trainee won the Grade 1 Test at the Ballerina distance of seven furlongs before running fourth in the Grade 1 Cotillion in September at Parx.

Off that effort, Separationofpowers was given eight months off after a chip in her ankle required surgery. But following the respite, the Candy Ride filly ran third in the Grade 3 Vagrancy at 6 ½ furlongs on May 11 at Belmont before wiring the field in the Grade 3 Bed o’Roses on June 7 on Big Sandy, earning a personal-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Brown said of that effort. “At her age now, she appreciates more time between races.”

Separationofpowers, 4-0-2 in nine career starts, has trained at Belmont since April, including eight works since the Bed o’Roses. Her last two breezes were on the training track including a four-furlong blowout in 49.77 seconds on August 17.

Jose Ortiz will have the return call from post 4.

Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Come Dancing has reached triple digit Beyers in three of her last four starts and came close last out, garnering a 97 after running second to Midnight Bisou in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 8, Belmont Stakes Day. Conditioned by Carlos Martin, Come Dancing started her 5-year-old year with back-to-back wins, commencing with a 7 ¾-length drubbing of the field in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap that earned her a 114 Beyer. She followed with another big score, besting the field by 6 ¾-lengths in the one-mile Grade 2 Ruffian on May 5 at Belmont.

A daughter of Malibu Moon Come Dancing is 6-2-0 in 11 career starts. She will have the services of Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, the winner of the 2011 Ballerina aboard Hilda’s Passion, from post 2.

Mia Mischief will be seeking her second Grade 1 win in her 4-year-old campaign, adding to her win in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Mia Mischief has three wins and a runner-up finish in five starts this year, with her only off-the-board finish coming with a fourth-place effort in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at six furlongs on July 24 at the Spa.

The daughter of Into Mischief enjoyed success as a sophomore in the Capital Region, running second by a neck to Separationofpowers in the Grade 1 Test and returned to run second to Dream Tree in the Grade 2 Prioress last September. That came after he winning effort in the Grade 2 Eight Belles in May 2018.

Ricardo Santana, Jr., aboard for her last 15 starts, will have the return engagement from post 5.

Stonestreet Stables’ Dawn the Destroyer will be making her first Grade 1 start after running third in the Bed o’Roses, rallying from last of six to earn graded stakes blacktype for the third time in four starts in adding to the Distaff Handicap and the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie on February 16 at Laurel Park.

Dawn the Destroyer will be returning to Saratoga for the first time since 2017, where she beat allowance company and ran third in the Grade 2 Prioress. Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who picked up the mount in the Bed o’Roses, will ride again, breaking from post 7.

Minit to Stardom enters with three straight wins, including a front-running 1 ½ length score in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss. The 4-year-old Star Guitar filly, conditioned by Jose Camejo, is 6-3-0 in 10 career starts and will be running at seven furlongs for just the second time and first since running sixth in last year’s Grade 1 Test, marking her only career off-the-board finish. Alex Cintron, aboard for her winning streak, will ride again, breaking from post 6.

Pacific Gale has produced a slew of game efforts for trainer John Kimmel, posting back-to-back runner-up finishes in graded stakes in the Distaff and Vagrancy Handicap. She will look to bounce back after running last of sixth in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss last out. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be in the irons from post 3.

Special Relativity, winner of the Shine Again on July 31 at Saratoga for trainer Robertino Diodoro, drew post 1 with jockey David Cohen. The 4-year-old daughter of Cowboy Cal is 4-for-4 lifetime at the Spa, with two wins in 2018 and a pair of victories in July as she seeks her third win of the meet.

Forego

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two of the country’s finest sprinters will go head-to-head in today’s Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor at Saratoga Race Course.

The seven-furlong sprint over the main track is named in honor of the three-time Horse of the Year (1974-76) and four-time Champion Older Horse (1974-77). Before building a champion-caliber resume, he finished fourth behind fellow Hall of Famer Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The sensational Forego was a 14-time Grade 1 winner.

Looking to make amends after finishing third as the heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole will attempt to add a third Grade 1 win to his resume after winning the Churchill Downs and the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap over subsequent Grade 1 Whitney winner McKinzie.

Prior to running third in the Vanderbilt, the 4-year-old Eskendreya chestnut had won seven straight races, six of which resulted in triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures.

In addition to his pair of Grade 1 triumphs, he took the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on April 13 at Oaklawn Park, his second start off of a ten-month layoff. Last year, Mitole won a pair of stakes events in Oaklawn’s Bachelor and the Chick Lang at Pimlico.

Mitole has a field-best $1,684,910 in career earnings and a record of 12-8-2-2.

Mitole is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who seeks his first Forego victory. Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. will attempt his second straight win in the Forego when he guides Mitole from post 3.

Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled was a two-time graded stakes winner at the Spa last meet when taking the Grade 3 Amsterdam and Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial and will seek to keep his perfect record at Saratoga alive when breaking from post 1.

Trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled enters the Forego off of a victory in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud at Belmont Park, where he garnered a career-best 108 Beyer.

Promises Fulfilled has put together a strong series of works over the main track at Saratoga, including a bullet on August 10 where he went five furlongs in 58.85 seconds.

Jockey Luis Saez, the current leading rider in stakes wins this meet, will pilot Promises Fulfilled.

Invading from the west coast is Air Strike who won the Grade 2 Triple Bend two starts back for trainer Phil D’Amato.

Owned by Madaket Stables, Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig, the son of Street Sense enters the Forego off of a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar Racetrack.

Air Strike will attempt his fourth career victory. He broke his maiden at fourth asking at Del Mar last August before defeating winners at Santa Anita a month and a half later.

Air Strike will leave from post 2 under jockey Joel Rosario.

Mr. Amore Stable’s Firenze Fire will attempt to reel in a second Grade 1 victory when breaking from post 6. As a 2-year-old, the Florida-bred son of Poseidon’s Warrior won the Champagne at Belmont Park and would go on to win two more graded stakes, one of which was the Grade 3 Dwyer last year at Belmont Park, where he recorded a career-best 106 Beyer.

Firenze Fire is trained by Jason Servis and will have the riding services of two-time Saratoga leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Empire State Racing’s Bon Raison takes a massive jump up in class after winning the Tale of the Cat on August 9, where he equaled a 100 Beyer that he recorded four starts back when beating starter allowance company at Belmont Park. A veteran of 28 career starts, the Carlos Martin-trained Raison d’Etat bay makes his Grade 1 debut in the Forego, which will be his 14th start this year. Earlier in March, he won the Peeping Tom at Aqueduct, which was his first stakes victory.

Two-time Saratoga leading rider Jose Ortiz picks up the mount aboard Bon Raison, who breaks from post 5.

Completing the field is Curragh Stables’ Killybegs Captain, who was third two starts back in his graded stakes debut for trainer John Terranova, which took place in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud at Belmont Park.

A winner of 5-of-22 starts, Killybegs Captain will break from post 4 under jockey Eric Cancel.

The Forego is slated as Race 5 on today’s 13-race Travers Day card.

Ballston Spa

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A select field with a decided international flavor will assemble today for the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa for turf fillies and mares, one of six stakes on the undercard of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

Saratoga’s leading trainer, Chad Brown, who has won four of the past seven editions of the Ballston Spa, has entered three: European import Mascha, multiple graded stakes winner Significant Form, and Fifty Five, whom he may scratch from Friday’s Yaddo to run today.

Mascha went from last to first in her stateside and 4-year-old debut, a 1 1/16-mile allowance on July 31. In four starts last year in Europe, she won the Kronimus Diana-Trial at Baden Baden and finished second in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche at Deauville.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be aboard Mascha, who drew Post 9, while Significant Form, fifth in the Caress on July 21 after winning the Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont Park, was assigned Post 4 with John Velazquez.

Fifty Five, winner of four of her past five starts, including the Ticonderoga, Plenty of Grace, John Hettinger and Mount Vernon, drew Post 2. Javier Castellano was named to ride.

Indian Blessing returns to the Spa for a second shot in the 1 1/16-mile race, having finished third last year. Trained by Ed Walker for Mr. P. K. Siu, the 5-year-old Sepoy mare racked up two other thirds in her 2018 American foray, including the Grade 3 Athenia at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland.

Most recently, she was second in the Group 2 RaceBets.de Meilen Trophy on July 21 at Hamburg, having finished third in the Group 2 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse a week earlier. Her lone victory this year came in the Maggie Dickson Stobo Castle Ladies Day Gold Cup on June 1 at Musselberg.

Florent Geroux will ride from Post 5.

The stakes-placed Scottish Jig will make her third stateside start and first in a graded stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Winner of an optional claimer in her debut on May 19 at Belmont, the Juddmonte Farms color-bearer returned to finish third in the 1 1/2-mile River Memories on July 5.

She will leave from Post 7 with Joel Rosario in the irons.

Representing trainer Graham Motion will be the Heider Family Stables’ Secret Message, who enters off a fourth-place finish behind Sistercharlie, Rushing Fall and Homerique in the Grade 1 Diana on June 13. Prior to that, the Hat Trick filly won the Grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine and the listed Dahlia at Laurel Park.

“I think she was a little unlucky in the Diana; she got into a bit of trouble at the top of the stretch,” said Motion. “She could have gotten third. She did well, and I feel very good about running her.”

Jose Ortiz has the mount and the pair will leave from Post 3.

Starship Jubilee, beaten less than a length by Secret Message in the Nassau, makes her first appearance at the Spa for Canadian trainer Kevin Attard. Claimed for $16,000 by Attard’s father, Tino, in February 2016 at Gulfstream Park, the Indy Wind mare went on to claim Grade 2 victories at Woodbine in the Nassau and Dance Smartly in 2017 and the Canadian last year.

She will leave from post 8 and will have the services of Jose Lezcano.

Rounding out the field are Hogans Holiday, winner of the Miss Liberty on May 26 at Monmouth Park, who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., from the rail, and Conquest Hardcandy, a recent allowance winner at the Spa seeking her first stakes victory. Trained by Jim Ryerson, she drew Post 6 under Tyler Gaffalione.

The Ballston Spa is slated as Race 8 on today’s 13-race Travers Day card.

Sword Dancer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Entering off an impressive optional claiming allowance win on July 24, Klaravich Stables’ and William Lawrence’s Annals of Time will make his first graded-stakes start since winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2016 as a 3-year-old in the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer going 1 ½ miles on the inner turf course today at Saratoga Race Course.

A 6-year-old son of Temple City in the care of meet-leading conditioner Chad Brown, Annals of Time graduated in his debut at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2015 and finished third in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont as a 3-year-old before winning the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Race Track.

Sidelined for nine months following that win due to a soft tissue injury, he has only raced three times since, winning a second-level allowance race as a 4-year-old at Belmont Park followed by a runner-up third level allowance finish before subsequently winning last out by 4 ½ lengths at the Spa.

Although concerned with the mile and a half distance, Brown said he is looking forward to bringing Annals of Time back against top level competition.

“A mile and a half will be a test for him,” said Brown. “He’s never run in a three-turn race before. I’d prefer there to be some pace in the race, but he has a really good turn of foot and he’s going need to.”

Annals of Time will leave from post 7 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard.

Also entering for Brown is Proven Reserves for Klaravich Stables and Chilean-bred Ya Primo for Madaket Stables and Don Alberto Stables.

A 4-year-old son of Flatter, Proven Reserves will try turf for the first time making his third start of the year following a pair of fourth-place finishes in second-level allowance company events, on June 19 at Belmont and on July 19 at Saratoga.

Ya Primo, a Mastercraftsman 4-year-old colt and multiple graded stakes winner in South America where he made his firs nine career starts, finished a game second to fellow entrant Channel Cat beaten by a half-length in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 27 in his North American debut.

“He ran super in that race and just came up a little bit short at the end,” said Brown. “He’s been training particularly well since and we’re looking to running in the Sword Dancer. It was always our plan.”

Drawing the rail, Proven Reserves will leave with Manny Franco aboard. Ya Primo will depart from post 6 with meet-leading rider Jose Ortiz in the irons.

Trainer Todd Pletcher entered a pair of formidable contenders in Bowling Green winner Channel Cat for Calumet Farm and Pillar Mountain for Team Valor.

Sired by English Channel, the 4-year-old colt began his campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 4 at Belmont. Following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan he finished third beaten by three-quarters of a length before breaking through to win his first graded stakes in the Bowling Green, going wire-to-wire.

Channel Cat will leave from post 4 with Luis Saez up.

Pillar Mountain, a 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Kodiac, made one career start in Ireland where he broke his maiden and enters the Sword Dancer following back-back allowance wins on June 6 at Belmont and July 19 at Saratoga each going 1 3/8 miles.

“He’s a horse that’s continued to develop and we think has earned his chance to see what he can do at this level,” said Pletcher. “It’s certainly a jump up, but he’s been training well and we think will be able to handle any kind of turf to see what he can do.”

Looking to rebound off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Bowling Green in which he made his first start of the year is Sadler’s Joy for Woodslane Farm and conditioner Tom Albertrani.

The 6-year-old Kitten’s Joy multiple graded stakes winner has two wins from seven starts at Saratoga and is in search of his first victory since winning the Grade 2 Mac Diarmada in 2018 at Gulfstream Park.

Also entered is multiple graded stakes winner Channel Maker, who finished fourth in the Grade 2 Bowling Green for Hall off Fame trainer Bill Mott and Wachtel Stable, leaving from post 8 with Joel Rosario aboard; Tiz Morning (Dylan Davis, post 2); and Noble Thought (Irad Ortiz, Jr. post 3).

The Sword Dancer is slated as Race 10 on today’s 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou, undefeated in five starts this season, looks to keep her perfect record intact while seeking her first career victory at Saratoga Race Course in today’s Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti.

The 70th running of the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on the main track.

Never worse than third, with $2.87 million in purse earnings from 16 lifetime starts, all 10 of Midnight Bisou’s wins have come in graded stakes. Four of those victories were at Grade 1 caliber, including the Apple Blossom April 19 at Oaklawn Park and the Ogden Phipps June 8 at Belmont Park in back-to-back outings. Most recently, she was a one-length winner of the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher July 20 at Monmouth Park.

“She’s an amazingly consistent mare that has maintained a very high level for an extended period of time,” Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We’re expecting and want more of the same.”

Midnight Bisou kicked off her 4-year-old season with a workmanlike three-quarter-length triumph in the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic Jan. 27 under regular Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith. She similarly won the Grade 2 Azeri by a length March 16 at Oaklawn prior to her nose triumph in the Apple Blossom.

“She gave herself a lot do off the bench in the Ladies at Sam Houston. Since then she has been very sharp,” Asmussen said. “I think examples [of her adjustments] are very subtle within the individual races. It’s almost like Mike will think, ‘I want to be there,’ and she gets there without a lot of obvious visual adjustment. Those are the things you really admire, especially at this level.”

Midnight Bisou raced twice at Saratoga last summer, finishing second to champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks before returning to be third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Alabama behind Eskimo Kisses and Asmussen-trained stablemate She’s a Julie.

“Her talent goes without question, but she’s obviously very intelligent. Her relationship with Mike, you can see the evolution of it, where they’re at now and how responsive she is to him,” Asmussen said. “You get into some of these older races, and the number of horses in them has so much to do with how the race shapes up. She and Mike have been making beautiful adjustments, regardless of who she is in with, for where she needs to be in a race.”

Madaket Stables also has an ownership stake in 4-year-old She’s a Julie, herself a five-time graded-stakes winner $73,120 shy of the $1 million mark for career purse earnings. A relentless half-length winner of the Grade 1 La Troienne May 3 at Churchill Downs, She’s a Julie ran third in each of her past two starts – the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis June 15, also at Churchill, and the Grade 3 Shuvee July 21 at Saratoga, also run at 1 1/8 miles.

“I feel like she’s sitting on the best race of her year,” Asmussen said.

Smith and Midnight Bisou will depart from post 1 as the 124-pound highweight, while Ricardo Santana Jr. rides She’s a Julie from post 3 carrying 122 pounds.

A threat to Midnight Bisou’s streak is Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Elate, one of two contenders entered by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who is seeking his fourth Personal Ensign victory. Mott won the 1994 edition with Link River, then took back-to-back runnings with Royal Delta in 2013 and 2014 with Close Hatches.

Elate also enters the Personal Ensign on a roll, having won her last two starts in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis and a second straight triumph in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, contested at 1 ¼ miles, on July 13.

“She’s done well since the Delaware race and I’m very happy with her,” Mott said. “She put in a very good run in that race. She exploded and put in the kind of run that she’s capable of. We’ve been able to get a little racing in her this year and a little seasoning. She’s fit and ready to go, so hopefully that will carry on to the Personal Ensign.”

Elate’s two losses came this year to Midnight Bisou, finishing second in the Azeri and third in the Apple Blossom. The Azeri was Elate’s first race since being beaten a neck by arch-rival Abel Tasman in last year’s Personal Ensign; a margin that stood up following a stewards’ inquiry following contact between the two in deep stretch.

“I think she’s been unlucky maybe not to win a championship. Maybe her career has been a little shortened. If she won the Personal Ensign last year, she could have been champion,’ Mott said. “We’ve run big races with her off the shelf before. Last year we won the Delaware Handicap off an eight- or nine-month layoff, so six weeks I don’t think is a big deal for her. It’s a nice amount of time.”

Mott will also send out Summer Wind Equine’s Golden Award in the Personal Ensign off a decisive victory over Wow Cat and She’s a Julie in the Grade 3 Shuvee July 21 at Saratoga. The stablemates are the only horses in the field with a win over the main track, with Elate’s coming in the 2017 Grade 1 Alabama.

“She’s doing well and there’s nowhere else to run. It’s a major race and it’s an opportunity to pick up for her to pick up some black type in a Grade 1 race,” Mott said of Golden Award. “It’s not something I like to do. I don’t really like running against myself, but by the same token I’ve got to do what’s right for both horses and both owners.

“Her last race was very good. She really stepped up. She took it to them and put them away. She really moved forward in that last race. It was very good,” he added. “I think Golden Award seems to have a bit more early speed, so I don’t think it’s going to hurt Elate.”

Jose Ortiz returns to ride Elate from post 4 at 120 pounds, with Golden Award carrying 120 pounds including Tyler Gaffalione from far outside post 6.

Peter Brant and Stud Vendaval’s Wow Cat, a three-time Group 1 winner in her native Chile, ran third in last year’s Personal Ensign in her second North American trip. Second in her debut last summer in the Shuvee, she left Saratoga and won the Grade 1 Beldame Oct. 6 at Belmont Park and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, a length behind Monomoy Girl and a half-length ahead of Midnight Bisou.

Wow Cat didn’t run again until returning in the Shuvee, racing three-wide on both turns and being outfinished by Golden Award. Since then, the 5-year-old daughter of two-time champion Lookin At Lucky has breezed three times at Saratoga for trainer Chad Brown, the most recent a five-furlong move in 1:00.50 August 17.

“She got a lot out of that last race. Hopefully she’s going to move forward. She’s going to need to to run against Elate, but I really liked the way she came out of the race. Her last breeze in particular was very strong,” Brown said. “The key to her is the pace in front of her. She prefers some pace in front of her and to sit back a little bit and make one run.”

Hall of Famer John Velazquez, aboard for both Saratoga starts last summer, has the return call from post position 5 at 122 pounds.

Completing the field is Roddy Valente, RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Coach Rocks. By 2013 Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow, Coach Rocks went winless from her victory in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks last March until a commanding five-length optional claiming allowance triumph June 23 at Churchill Downs. She followed up with another solid effort in the Molly Pitcher, setting the pace before being caught late by Midnight Bisou on a day where several racetracks in the East cancelled racing due to extreme heat.

“She’s doing super. This filly is training just as good as she possibly can,” trainer Dale Romans said. “It was a great win for her at Churchill. The race the other day at Monmouth, there were a lot of odd circumstances that she stood up to, so she’s mentally tough right now, too. This is a good race. [There’s] some good fillies and some good mares, so you’ve got to come out of there running. It’s one of the best fields on a great day.”

Luis Saez will ride Coach Rocks from post 2 carrying the low weight of 118 pounds.

Run as the Firenze from 1948-85 and the John A. Morris from 1986-97, the Personal Ensign was renamed in honor of the undefeated champion filly owned and bred by Ogden Phipps. Her dramatic victory in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff capped a 13-0 career, making her the first major horse in more than 80 years to accomplish the feat. Personal Ensign was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1993, followed 11 years later by her trainer, Shug McGaughey.

H. Allen Jerkens

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Shancelot, dominant winner of the Grade 2 Amsterdam in his most recent outing, returns to Saratoga Race Course to head a field of nine entered in today’s Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy.

The H. Allen Jerkens, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, is one of seven stakes on today’s card, which is topped by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. 

The “Mid-Summer Derby” will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of today’s Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude.

In the 6 ½-furlong Amsterdam on July 28, Shancelot went straight to the lead and extended his advantage at every call, running clear to a 12 ½-length victory under jockey Emisael Jaramillo’s drive. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 121 for the effort, the top figure in North America so far in 2019.

The victory was so impressive that trainer Jorge Navarro needed to pick a race that happened two years before he was born in order to draw a comparison.

“I will never see that again,” said Navarro, who conditions Shancelot for Ivan Rodriguez and Albert and Michelle Crawford. “The last time I saw something like that was Secretariat. I will be lucky if he runs like that again. I knew he was good, but I didn’t expect anything that amazing.”

Shancelot is unbeaten in three starts, having also won a seven-furlong maiden special weight by a neck in February at Gulfstream Park and an entry-level six-furlong optional claimer by 6 ¼ lengths in June at Monmouth Park.

Navarro reported that Shancelot emerged from his Amsterdam performance in good shape. The Shanghai Bobby colt worked twice at Monmouth Park following the Amsterdam, breezing four furlongs in 49.40 on August 11 and six furlongs in 1:11 on Sunday.

“He’s come back and worked good,” said Navarro. “It’s amazing how he came out of the race. It’s always a good sign when they are back in the feed tub the day after the race.”

Emisael Jaramillo will once again ride Shancelot, who drew post position 1.

Nitrous, runner-up in both the Amsterdam and the Grade 1 Woody Stephens, will attempt to go one better in the Jerkens. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, the deep closer won the listed Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn in April before missing by a neck in the Woody Stephens, contested at the Jerkens’ seven-furlong distance June 8 at Belmont Park.

As a 2-year-old, Nitrous made two starts at Saratoga, breaking his maiden in his second start and finishing third in the Grade 1 Hopeful.

“I think he runs solid races here at Saratoga, and seven-eighths of a mile is ideal for him,” said Asmussen. “He’s a horse that, just like [Grade 1 Runhappy Travers entrant] Laughing Fox, how the racetrack is playing will have a lot to do with [his performance].”

Ricardo Santana, Jr. has the call aboard Nitrous from post 5.

Something Special Racing’s Hog Creek Hustle, who made a seven-wide rally from 10th to win the Woody Stephens, will make his Saratoga debut in the Jerkens. The Woody Stephens was the first stakes win for Hog Creek Hustle, who earlier in his career had finished third in the Sugar Bowl at six furlongs at the Fair Grounds, second in the Fair Grounds’ Grade 3 Lecomte around two turns, and second in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile in a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs.

“[Seven furlongs] is perfect for him, and as long as he came out of the [Woody Stephens] healthy, the [Jerkens] was the plan,” said trainer Vickie Foley. “We’re running a fresh horse, and we’re ready to go. He had a dynamite work Saturday, :59 and change. And the way he did it was even better. You couldn’t ask the horse to be doing any better.”

Hog Creek Hustle drew post 9 and will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

Also exiting the Woody Stephens is Borracho, who finished third, beaten one length. He returned from that effort to win a second-level optional claimer by 1 ¾ lengths over the Jerkens’ course and distance July 21. Borracho is a son of Uncle Mo, who in 2011 lost the Jerkens (then the King’s Bishop) by a nose to Caleb’s Posse.

“We found out what he wants to do,” said Rusty Arnold, who trains Borracho for Preston Madden. “He wants to sprint. We tried him long a couple of times, and he didn’t like it. We backed him up and sprinted him, and he’s run well. He’s run well up here. We wanted to run in allowance race and we skipped the [Amsterdam], which is a good thing with the way [Shancelot] ran. He’s had a great month up here. He hasn’t missed a day and is doing well. He’s going to run his race back.”

Chris Landeros has the call aboard Borracho from post 4.

The Jerkens field also includes Call Paul, returning to the main track following a seventh in the Grade 3 Quick Call on July 11; Twelfth Labour, winner of an optional claimer June 28 at Churchill Downs; Mind Control, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful last year and third in the Concern on July 14 at Laurel Park; The Big S, fifth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam; and Rowayton, fourth in the Curlin on July 26.

The H. Allen Jerkens is slated as Race 7 on today’s 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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