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Ask the Moon and jockey Javier Castellano return after the Personal Ensign
Postponed from the Sunday after the Travers Stakes due to hurricane Irene, the $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) was rescheduled for a week later as part of the Woodward Stakes card. A field of just 6 older fillies and mares went 1 1/4 miles on the main track, with Ruffian Handicap (G1) winner Ask the Moon sent off as the 2-1 favorite. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Pachattack, a distant 8th in the Beverly D (G1) after winning the Arlington Matron (G3) both at Arlington Park, and 7-2 third choice Super Espresso, second in the Ruffian after winning the Allaire du Pont Distaff (G3) at Pimlico and finishing third in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) at Saratoga.
Ask the Moon starts to draw away in the stretch.
Also on the card were the Woodward Stakes (G1) won by Havre de Grace and the Forego Stakes (G1) won by Jackson Bend.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Ask the Moon Castellano 5.90 3.30 2.50 3 Pachattack Maragh 3.80 3.10 6 Tiz Miz Sue Rocco Jr. 3.50 Winning Time: 2:04.21 $2 Exacta 2-3 19.00 $2 Trifecta 2-3-6 64.00
Left: Ask the Moon in the winner's circle. Heather Irion, assistant to trainer Martin Wolfson said, "She obviously loves this track. She's been amazing. We never dreamed she would do this when we claimed her. Marty loved her. I think she has blown us away with two Grade 1 wins right off the bat. She's just a dream. She does it all on her own. We were worried; distance was definitely an issue for us. She's got a lot of heart. She was all heart down the lane. She was obviously tired. She digs in. She gives everything she's got. She's all class."
Right: Ask the Moon gets hosed off after the race.
Left: Ask the Moon heads out to the track before the race. Her jockey Javier Castellano said, "She improved. People said that maybe she got lucky last time. They let her go on the lead and stole the race. I don't think so. She improved a lot, she's a nice filly, she's won two Grade 1s, and I'm glad to get on the filly. She's a very fast filly, and I think the key is not fighting too much with her. She ducked out a little bit because she was getting tired, and I tried to push her a little hard and squeeze her a little bit, and she responded."
Right: Ask the Moon leads first time by.
Second place finisher Pachattack returns after the race. Her owner Mike Deegan said, "It was a good (dirt) debut, wasn't it? I think we met a good horse today. She traveled very well on the back, the jockey was making up ground, so obviously she liked it. There are a couple of races coming up that we're going to consider, but ultimately, the goal is the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. There's a bit of work between this and then, but for her first race and the way she fought on the backstretch, we'll take that."
Right: Third place finisher Tiz Miz Sue heads out to the track before the race. The 6-1 fifth choice saved ground 5 lengths off the pace under jockey Joe Rocco Jr., came out wide for the drive and passed tiring horses to get third beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The Steve Hobby trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 5 seconds, and 2 thirds in 19 starts, earning $284,709 for owner-breeder ChesRan Stable.
The first race on Woodward Day was the $80,000 Paris Opera Stakes for older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the inner turf course. 10-1 Ultimate Class set the early pace of 24.61, 48.14, and 1:11.59 but tired badly in the final furlong. 5-1 Sugar Again, 6th early, closed late to gain the lead at the 1/16 pole then was all-out to hold off late-running 3-1 Deluxe by a head in 1:35.32. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 33-1 longest shot Thundering Emilia third, while 5-2 favorite Evading Tempete was fourth.
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