The distaff set will have two opportunities to score big on Saturday’s blockbuster Travers Day program, with the $750,000 Personal Ensign S. (G1) sending a half dozen nine furlongs and eight entered in the $500,000 Ballerina S. (G1) at seven furlongs.
First up will be the Personal Ensign featuring reigning three-year-old champion filly Untapable. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine hasn’t shown the same spark in her four-year-old season. The Steven Asmussen trainee has placed in the Ogden Phipps S. (G1) and Azeri S. (G2) with a win in the Apple Blossom H. (G1) residing between those two.
Untapable needs to rebound off a loss to the re-opposing Stopchargingmaria in the Shuvee H. (G3) if she hopes to score here.
The Shuvee was Stopchargingmaria’s second straight graded victory after she captured the Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) at Pimlico by four lengths. The dark bay miss is no stranger to the Spa, having scored in the Alabama (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last season. That experience will come in handy as the Todd Pletcher charge seeks to complete a hat trick of graded wins.
Stopchargingmaria & Untapable (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photo)
Fellow Pletcher pupil Got Lucky also brings a pair of stakes wins into the Personal Ensign. The four-year-old lass romped by 5 1/2 lengths in the Molly Pitcher S. (G3) prior to adding a 4 1/2-length score in the Lady’s Secret S. to her resume on August 2. Both those starts came at Monmouth Park, but Got Lucky ran at Saratoga last year when taking an allowance and finishing fifth in the Alabama.
Sheer Drama is the only non-four-year-old in the Personal Ensign. The David Fawkes-trained mare dominated the Royal Delta (G2), ran second in the La Troienne (G1) and Fleur de Lis H. (G2), and last out scored in the Delaware H. (G1). Sheer Drama also broke her maiden at Saratoga during her sophomore season in 2013.
America and Tiz Windy complete the Personal Ensign field after finishing third behind others in this group in their last races. America was no match for Stopchargingmaria in last year’s CCA Oaks and Alabama, and most recently filled the show spot in the Delaware ‘Cap. Tiz Windy hasn’t won since taking the Indiana Oaks (G3) last October and was third in the Shuvee while trying the Spa for the first time last out.
There are a number of runners one race later who are hoping to continue win streaks in the Ballerina. Sarah Sis, La Verdad and Dame Dorothy all bring win streaks into the contest while Merry Meadow and Room for Me both had streaks interrupted.
La Verdad is riding a four-race winning skein that began in the Distaff H. (G2) in her five-year-old bow on April 18. Since then she has added the Vagrancy H. (G3), Dancin Renee S. and Honorable Miss H. (G2) to her resume while racking up triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings.
La Verdad (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photo)
Sarah Sis got back on the winning track in the Panthers S. and continued that with a nose score in the Iowa Oaks (G3) last out. Prior to those two wins, the Ingrid Mason trainee was fifth in the Fantasy (G3) and vanned off without finishing the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Dame Dorothy also brings a pair of stakes wins, the Humana Distaff (G1) and Bed o’ Roses H. (G3), into the Ballerina. The four-year-old bay did even better when beginning her career in November 2013 by scoring in four straight. She’s never finished off-the-board in nine starts but will be tackling Saratoga for the first time Saturday.
Merry Meadow had her own win streak broken when a subpar sixth in the Inside Information (G2) two back. The bay five-year-old was given some time off following that puzzling effort and returned to the winner’s circle last out in the Princess Rooney (G2). Room for Me won three straight in easy fashion, finished a close second in the Vagrancy, and then sandwiched a fourth in the Bed o’ Roses H. (G3) between wins in an allowance/optional claimer and the Regret S.
Finishing out the Ballerina field are Kiss to Remember and Unbridled Forever, each exiting a stakes win, as well as Street Story, runner-up in the Bed o’ Roses and Honorable Miss in her past pair.