A small, but fantastic, field of six fillies and mares will run 1 1/8 miles on the Saratoga main strip in Friday’s $500,000 Personal Ensign S. (G1). Multiple Grade 1 heroine #5 Nest (4-5) commenced her four-year-old campaign with a stout tally in the Shuvee S. (G2) on the oval last time out and rates a huge chance with expected improvement in her second run of 2023.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Nest compiled a fine 8-5-2-0 mark as a sophomore, which included dominant tallies locally in both the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), as well as the Alabama S. (G1), and she owns a sterling 3-for-3 mark at The Spa in total. The daughter of Curlin shows a pair of solid morning drills in advance of Friday on the surface, and she figures to sit a comfortable trip from just off of a decent early tempo to the top of the stretch. Regular pilot Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in the stirrups.
For value, I expect #3 Secret Oath (8-1) to run one of her better ones in this spot while coming in fresh for conditioner D. Wayne Lukas. The Arrogate four-year-old ran a trio of big races earlier this campaign prior to a subpar showing in the Ogden Phipps S. (G1) at Belmont Park in June, but she comes in fresh and finished second in both of her previous assignments at Saratoga. Secret Oath has registered some very good morning drills at this venue leading up to the affair, and I like that Luis Saez gets back in the silks aboard the chestnut, too.
Steve Asmussen’s #6 Clairiere (5-2) has earned in excess of $3.1 million in her career and has come home either first or second in each of her four tries this season. The fantastic five-year-old daughter of Curlin didn’t fire as the favorite in the contest in 2022, but the bay has performed well in each of her four other runs on the strip and was clearly second best in the Shuvee (G2) most recently. The powerful stretch-runner could possibly receive a decent pace to rally into late while clear throughout under Joel Rosario.
Personal Ensign Wagers
$20 exacta: 5 with 3 ($20)
$10 trifecta: key 5 with 3,6 ($20)