SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cavorting’s record at Saratoga Race Course remained unblemished after she won Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign, which marked her first start around two turns.
Stonestreet Stables’ Cavorting zoomed through the stretch with a locomotive-like run to post a half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race for older fillies and mares. In winning the Personal Ensign, which lifted her record at the Spa to 4-for-4, Cavorting earned an expense-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff at Santa Anita in November.
Curalina, the 9-5 favorite, finished second, a neck in front of Forever Unbridled. It was another half-length back to pacesetter I’m a Chatterbox, who finished fourth. Paid Up Subscriber completed the order of finish.
Ridden to perfection by jockey Javier Castellano, Cavorting trailed her four rivals until picking up steam while making a wide move early in the stretch. It wasn’t until she was inside the eighth pole that she was able to cement her victory, finishing with a flourish to overtake Curalina, Forever Unbridled and I’m a Chatterbox, who were duking it out as the wire loomed.
The race unfolded exactly how Cavorting’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, had hoped. Castellano, who rode Cavorting from post 5, was able to relax his mount, who appeared keen to be part of the early pace, at the back of the pack after the break.
“Javier [Castellano] got her back and saved ground, and I think that was the key to the race,” McLaughlin said. “[Javier] gets along great with this filly, but that was an important move he made into the first turn.”
Castellano said he didn’t want Cavorting to flaunt early speed.
“She broke out of the gate and rushed up to the lead,” he said. “I didn’t expect her to be in front and I had to take her back a little bit, nice and easy, and covered up. My concern was that it was going to be two turns for her for the first time, and a mile and an eighth. I had to save some ground and save something for the end.
“The way the race developed was amazing,” the rider added. “I was able to cover up a little bit, and then turning for home, the way she did it was amazing. I had a lot of horse under me and I absolutely felt the power.”
Cavorting returned $6.90 as the 2-1 second choice. She completed the distance in 1:48.61 over a track labeled fast.
Bred in Kentucky by Swettenham Stud, Cavorting previously won Saratoga’s Grade 2 Adirondack as a 2-year-old, and last year’s Grade 1 Test and Grade 2 Prioress.
The Personal Ensign win elevated Cavorting’s earnings to $2,063,000 and her record to 8-1-1 in 13 starts.
Personal Ensign (G1) Quotes
“Win and You’re In Breeders’ Cup Distaff Division”
Kiaran McLaughlin, winning trainer of Cavorting (No. 5): “She ran terrific. Javier [Castellano] got her back and the others went four-wide. He saved ground and I think that was the key to race. He [Javier] gets along great with this filly. That was an important move he made into the first turn.
Upcoming plans?: “Not sure if we’ll go straight to the Breeders’ Cup or run back at Belmont.”
Javier Castellano, winning rider aboard Cavorting (No. 5): “She broke out of the gate and rushed up to the lead. I didn’t expect her to be in front and I had to take her back a little bit, nice and easy, and covered up. My concern was that it was going to be two turns for her for the first time, and a mile and an eighth. I had to save some ground and save something for the end. If I got too far back, I wasn’t going to catch them because they were running pretty quick. The way the race developed was amazing. I was able to cover up a little bit, and then turning for home, the way she did it was amazing. I had a lot of horse under me and I absolutely felt the power.”
“It worked out great. It was perfect; a dream trip.”
“I like the way she did it today. She was amazing the way she ran against the best fillies in the country. The way she finished, coming from behind like that, was unbelievable. I give her all of the credit. It was small field but they are all Grade 1 fillies.”
John Velazquez, jockey aboard runner-up and beaten favorite Curalina (No. 2): “The plan today was to be near the lead. There was no speed. The only speed was the horse in front of us [I’m a Chatterbox]. That’s where we landed. She ran hard, she just got beat.”
Dallas Stewart, trainer of third-place finisher Forever Unbridled (No. 3): “What a horse race, huh? It was a great horse race, she just got outrun. No excuses.”