Personal Ensign | Horse Profile

Horse > Personal Ensign

Personal Ensign

Personal Ensign was bred and raced by Odgen Phipps. She began her racing career at age 2 in 1986 and won her first race by 13 lengths. She won the Frizette Stakes at Belmont two weeks later against a small field, but a fracture to her pastern bone in training cut short her 2-year-old season shortly before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she would have been the race favorite.

 She returned to racing late in her 3-year-old season and won four races including a pair of stakes. She beat older mares in the Beldame Stakes. Her trainer ‘Shug’ McGaughey skipped the Breeders’ Cup and readied her for her 4-year-old season in 1988. That year, Personal Ensign won all seven of her starts, including the Shuvee, Hempstead, Maskette and Beldame, all Grade 1 races against fillies. She had eight wins in eight starts and all at Belmont Park.

 Personal Ensign then won a stakes race in New Jersey before returning to challenge the boys at Saratoga in the historic Whitney Handicap. She won again and this time on a wet track. The final race of her career was that season when she won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in one of the thrilling Breeders’ Cup finishes when Personal Ensign closed dramatically in the final yards to nose out Kentucky Derby-winning filly Winning Colors over a wet Churchill Downs track.

 Personal Ensign won all 13 races of her career and retired as the first undefeated champion in American racing in over 80 years.

The Personal Ensign Handicap is named in her honor, and the race is run annually at in August at Saratoga.

 Personal Ensign died of natural causes in April, 2010 in her pasture at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, where she was born.

 In the 2005 Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the Top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred champions of the 20th century, Personal Ensign is No. 48.

Personal Ensign career statistics

Starts: 13

1st: 13

2nd: 0

3rd: 0

Personal Ensign career honors and awards:

1993 – Inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame

1988 – U.S. Champion Older Female Horse

1988 – 1st Place Breeders’ Cup Distaff

1996 – Kentucky Broodmare Horse of the Year