Personal Ensign Stakes 2021 Entries: Letruska v Swiss Skydiver

Can Swiss Skydiver recapture the form that saw her to victory in Preakness 145?
Can Swiss Skydiver recapture the form that saw her to victory in Preakness 145?

The Grade I Personal Ensign pits the number two horse in the latest NTRA Poll against the reigning Preakness Stakes champion. It should be a thriller and the two of them are part of a nine horse field…

Personal Ensign 2021 Entries & Post Positions
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  • Dunbar Road
  • As Time Goes By
  • Bonny South
  • Swiss Skydiver
  • Royal Flag
  • Letruska
  • Miss Marissa
  • Harley's Lil Goil
  • Graceful Princess

Five voters in the latest edition of the NTRA Poll put Letruska - the Fausto Gutierrez trained five-year-old - in first place. One of them was our very own J.N. Campbell, who will be handicapping this race later in the week. He’s a big fan of this daughter of Super Saver and you can see why.

Four wins from five so far in 2021 has seen her vault up in the rankings for older female horses. The key race to look at was on April 17 where she beat both Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver. I’ve just rewatched that race and it was an absolute classic and showed that Letruska is undoubtedly a superb horse who could still face off with the boys at Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The Distaff is clearly more likely but this Mare is just that good.

When you go stride for stride with a champion such as Monomoy Girl and come out on top, you show everyone that you are now in the upper echelons of horses worldwide. It is a shame MG is currently sidelined so they can’t have what would be a mouthwatering rematch and even looks unlikely to be ready to defend her BC Distaff crown in November.

The third horse that day at Oaklawn was Swiss Skydiver who has struggled somewhat in her four-year-old campaign. It started off strong in the Beholder Mile over at Santa Anita but she finished a distant third to the two superstars in that Apple Blossom and the Grade I Whitney against the boys didn’t go great but that was an audible called due to a quarantine issue that kept her from racing in the Grade III Shuvee.

Last year I was a big fan of Swiss Skydiver but my faith has been shaken somewhat. Kenny McPeek is not having a great year and this feels like a huge race for this daughter of Daredevil. Never rule out a champion and remember - she is the reigning three-year-old filly champ - but Letruska just feels like she is on another level as it stands.

The Mare who took advantage of Swiss Skydiver being unable to race in the Shuvee was the Chad Brown trained Royal Flag. This daughter of Candy Ride has never finished worse than third in any race in which she’s competed. Don’t rule her out completely for use in your exotics. 

Brad Cox trains Bonny South who is another who will be expected to be in the mix. Fifth place last time out can be tossed out for me as an anomaly as before that she had four second-places and a win in her previous five starts. This filly is often there or thereabouts so don’t rule her out. One of those second places came to Miss Marissa in the Grade II Black Eyed Susan back at Pimlico last fall on the rearranged Preakness undercard. This horse has had a slow 2021 campaign but won the Grade II Delaware Handicap. I don’t see her as a threat for the pointy end of this race however.

Dunbar Road, Graceful Princess and Harvey’s Lil Goil all have Grade III wins to their name but the step up in class in this packed field makes them tough to back unless you are looking at the deepest of exotics.

Lastly, As Time Goes By has been entered but has also been put into the Grade I Sword Dancer on the turf. This Bob Baffert four-year-old has always been a dirt horse and has had some success out west going 2 for her last 4 in Graded Stakes races albeit against so-so opposition. If she takes to the track here then hitting the board isn't out of the question.

J.N. Campbell has the Saturday Saratoga card for us so check back on Friday for his views on the Grade I Ballerina...

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