Letruska‘s stranglehold on 2021 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) qualifiers continued Saturday at Saratoga when the five-year-old mare proved tenacious in the final furlong to win the $600,000 Personal Ensign S. (G1) under Irad Ortiz Jr.
It was the third consecutive win in a Breeders’ Cup Challenge series race for Letruska, who had previously captured the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Fleur de Lis (G2). The daughter of Super Saver had also claimed the Apple Blossom H. (G1) and Houston Ladies Classic (G3) earlier in the year, with her only setback a head loss to Shedaresthedevil in the Azeri (G2) in March.
“She has ability, but more she has a big heart. This a special horse,” said trainer Fausto Gutierrez, who indicated Letruska would turn in her final Distaff prep in the Spinster (G1) at Keeneland in October. “To have this speed and to be able to run long distances, and to have the big heart is special. Not for nothing, I think this is one of the best horses in the country.”
Letruska took the lead from the fast-breaking Swiss Skydiver around the first turn. Holding a lead alternating between a half-length and a full length through honest splits of :23.01, :46.74, and 1:10.76, Letruska then dug deep down the lane to win by a half-length as the odds-on favorite.
A homebred racing for St George Stable, Letruska paid $3.50 after covering 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.15.
Bonny South, sent off at 23-1, won a three-way photo for second by a head over Royal Flag, who had the same margin on Dunbar Road. Swiss Skydiver, As Time Goes By, Harvey’s Lil Goil, Miss Marissa, and Graceful Princess completed the order of finish.
A champion in Mexico at age three, Letruska won three stakes in her first full U.S. campaign last season, including the Shuvee (G3) and Rampart (G3). Her record now stands at 20-15-1-1, $1,936,459.
Bred in Kentucky, Letruska is out of the stakes-placed Successful Appeal mare Magic Appeal, a full sister to Grade 1 winner J P’s Gusto. Letruska is herself a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed stakes winner Trigger Warning. This female family is also responsible for 2008 champion three-year-old filly Proud Spell.