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Sep 03, 2010

Persistently defeats Rachel Alexandra in Personal Ensign Stakes



Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Persistently, ridden by Alan Garcia, caught 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in late stretch to capture Sunday's $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey was also the conditioner of Personal Ensign.

Rachel Alexandra, with jockey Calvin Borel, was the 2-5 favorite in the five horse field. Delaware Handicap winner Life At Ten, ridden by John Velazquez, went off as the 9-5 second choice.

These two set the pace in the 1 1/4-mile stakes. Rachel was running in her first 1 1/4-mile race. The four-year-old filly took the lead out of the gate and was joined by Life At Ten.

These two females were far ahead of the other three runners. Rachel held the lead entering the far turn with Life At Ten to her outside.

Around the final turn the Horse of the Year moved clear of her main rival and opened a lead at the top of the stretch. As Life At Ten tired Persistently ranged up on the outside to move past the five-year-old mare.

In mid-stretch Rachel was clearly tiring, but still had the lead with a 100 yards to run. Persistently caught the favorite yards before the wire and posted a one-length victory over the four-year-old filly.

Life At Ten held on for third followed by Miss Singhsix and Classofsixtythree.

Persistently covered the 1 1/4-miles in 2:04.49 on a fast track.

Personal Ensign, a 1993 Hall of Fame inductee, was owned by the Phipps Stable which also owns this year's race winner. Previous Personal Ensign Stakes winners owned by the Phipps Stable and trained by McGaughey were Storm Flag Flying (2004), Heavenly Prize (1995) and Personal Business (1990).

Persistently notched her first stakes win with the Personal Ensign, the win was worth $180,000. The four-year-old chestnut filly is the winner of four of 14 career starts for $491,256.

Persistently returned $45.00, $8.10 and $3.60. Rachel Alexandra paid $2.30 and $2.10, and Life At Ten paid $2.10 to show.

The lost snapped Rachel's two race win streak and Life At Ten's six race winning streak.

"We are disappointed in the result," said Rachel's co-owner Jess Jackson, "as we are sure her countless fans are, but we are certainly not disappointed in her. She is still a superstar in our hearts and minds. The old sports adage applies - On any given Sunday, anything can happen."

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