Ten Things You Should Know: Personal Ensign Handicap
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on August 26, 2010
1) The Personal Ensign is a race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY. It is restricted to fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November.
2) Since its inaugural run in 1948, it’s been held at four different New York tracks: Jamaica (1948-1957), Aqueduct (1960 – 1974), Belmont (1976 – 1985), and Saratoga 1958 – 1959, 1986-present).
3) It has been run at a distance of 1 1/4 miles since 1995. Over its history, it has been run at a variety of distances, but it has been run the most at 1 1/8 miles.
4) The race is named for the great race mare Personal Ensign who won 13 races from 13 starts.
5) It has been run under its current name since 1999. Between 1987 and 1998, the race was called the John A. Morris Handicap. Morris was the president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association and Jamaica Racetrack in New York. He died in 1985.
6) Prior to 1987, the race was named the Firenze Handicap, after the Hall of Fame mare who was active in the late 19th century.
7) The great Gallorette finished second to Carolyn A in the inaugural running of the race in 1948.
8) Obeah finished second in 1968 and third in 1969, and finally hit the wire first in 1970. Obeah would later foal filly champion Go for Wand.
9) In fact, many champions have finished second in the Personal Ensign. Three-time champion Azeri finished second to Storm Flag Flying in 2004. Horse of the year Rachel Alexandra finished second to Persistently in 2010. In 2012 two-time champion Royal Delta finished second to Love and Pride and in 2017 two-time champion Songbird finished second to Forever Unbridled.
10) Jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., won a remarkable eight editions of the race. He won it for the first time in 1968 with Politely; his eighth winner came aboard Colonial Waiter in 1989.