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Jockey Jose Santos celebrates after winning the Personal Ensign Stakes aboard Fleet Indian
The traditional feature at Saratoga the day before the Travers Stakes is the $400,000 Personal Ensign (G1) for older fillies and mares going the Travers distance of 1 1/4 miles. A compact field of just five were entered here, with Delaware Handicap winner Fleet Indian sent off as the 3-5 favorite, coming into this race off a 6-race winning streak, three of which were in graded stakes company. Also in the field was 9-5 second choice Balletto, who hasn't won since the 2004 Frizette but just missed in the Go For Wand in her last start, finishing second by a nose.
First time by with Fleet Indian out front and Yolanda B. Too right behind
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Fleet Indian Santos 3.30 2.10 2.10 1 Balletto Castellano 2.50 2.10 3 Soul Search Velazquez 2.80 Winning Time: 2:03.87 $2 Exacta 5-1 5.30 $2 Trifecta 5-1-3 19.00
Fleet Indian in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jose Santos said, "We knew we were the lone speed in the race. She broke sharply like she has always done. She was asking me with her head to let her go. I kept her together until the half-mile pole when I let her go. When Balletto came within a length of us, I hit her once and she kept going."
The trophy presentation for the Personal Ensign Stakes. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher is on the far left and owner Paul Saylor to the right of jockey Jose Santos in the black suit. Pletcher said, "Sometimes, you can go too slow. That was my only concern. When she got into that rhythm, Balletto put in a run but she had a lot left. I thought it was a pretty solid finish going a mile and a quarter." Fleet Indian will go next in the Beldame on October 7 at Belmont.
Second place finisher Balleto in the paddock before the race. Her trainer Tom Albertrani said, "(Jockey Javier Castellano) knew right away that there was no pace. She's not that type of filly that runs early on. She doesn't have that kind of speed to put herself in the race early. He did the best that he could. She finished well. If she comes back well, we'll try her again." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "They went so slow. (Yolanda B. Too) wanted to take back, they weren't trying to win. She goes with Fleet Indian, maybe I win. I had to try and go with her myself, and it made me move too early. When I got to Fleet Indian, she just took off because she went so slow early."
Third place finisher Soul Search in the post parade. Her jockey John Velazquez said, "They were crawling up front. That certainly didn't help. My horse ran a good race. She's a grinder and she tried hard. She just couldn't close."
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