Personal Memories of Personal Ensign

On the same day Zenyatta seeks to run her unbeaten streak to 16, words arrives of the death of Personal Ensign, who retired undefeated in 13 starts following one of the greatest races of all time.

Those who jump up and down about Zenyatta becoming the first to beat males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) have every right to beat the drum loudly. It was an incredible performance. But there is something deeply emotional about the type of race that not only stirs your inner passion when you witness it live but leads you to become more convinced of its greatness as each year flips by on the calendar.

Perhaps we know greatness when we see it, and history affords us the perspective to truly understand it. Perhaps we get older and wiser; maybe it is that the memory bank gets fuller so the truly great performances mean even more.

I saw greatness in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), and over the years have come to appreciate it even more.

In fact when I watch the replay, obviously knowing the outcome, I still don’t think Randy Romero is going to pick Personal Ensign up and carry her to victory. She just can’t get there.

I can’t imagine there has ever been a more emotional and satisfying win for trainer Shug McGaughey, who counts many such moments in his career. Similarly, I can’t imagine there has even been a more gut-wrenching loss for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who like all trainers, has been on both ends of photo finishes.

Ogden Phipps homebred Personal Ensign was hopelessly beaten at the top of the stretch by Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Winning Colors on the muddy Churchill Downs surface Nov. 5, 1988, but her will to win was simply too great.

Of the dozen horses to run second to Personal Ensign (Winning Colors did so twice), two were champions and eight were grade I winners of a combined 19 grade I races during their careers (Personal Ensign won eight grade I races). Of the four to run second to her that failed to win a grade I race, one was a Canadian champion, two were grade III winners, and the other twice finished second in grade I races.

Amazingly, when few top runners also go on to become top producers—another Breeders’ Cup champion who fits the bill is Miesque—Personal Ensign produced three grade I winners including Breeders’ Cup winner My Flag, who in turn produced Breeders’ Cup winner Storm Flag Flying.

We recall the epic lunge of Personal Ensign (by Private Account) beating Winning Colors so vividly we forget poor ol’ Goodbye Halo, who was only a half-length back of those two. Goodbye Halo only won seven grade I races in her career including that year’s Kentucky Oaks, CCA Oaks, and Mother Goose Stakes.

Any list of the greatest Breeders’ Cup performances begins with Personal Ensign. As more time marches on, perhaps we will think differently. But not today.

(Want a hunch bet for April 10: Personal Ensign is the third dam of Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) entrant Interactif.)

72 Comments

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Karen Barry

what a race horse

what a mare

09 Apr 2010 3:18 PM
carolyn

And yes, on a day like today as we say goodbye to a fine filly that won 13 straight races without a loss, we have to admire the famous mare , that at six years old has surpassed PE record and is going for Citation's and Cigar's record.

Zenyatta is so big and her strides are so long, she makes it all look so easy, but every horse race the horse has to run and anything can happen in any given race, today more than ever , I say ,  Great job, well done, Zenyata. May you surpass all and hit the big 20 by the end of this year....

09 Apr 2010 3:29 PM
Dutch

What words can do Personal Ensign justice? Impossible, but her Breeders' Cup victory will forever be a transcendent moment in time. She was truly one of the greatest champions we will ever see.

09 Apr 2010 3:46 PM
RGGC

Great, great mare, who didn't know how to lose.  Never thought she'd win that BC but she would not be denied! RIP girl and thanks for all the wonderful decendants you have left us.

09 Apr 2010 3:59 PM
Tiznowbaby

I was an unabashed Winning Colors fan, and I really wanted her to win the BC Distaff. But, how could anyone have not become a fan of Personal Ensign after witnessing her determination and bravery. Even D.Wayne Lukas became a fan that day.

Perfection is so rare, and so precious, and beautiful. RIP Personal Ensign.

09 Apr 2010 4:01 PM
Dawn

I have tears in my eyes.  What a nice tribute to Personal Ensign.  Now we can only hope that Zenyatta can win today in her memory.  I'm sure the racing world will be thinking of Personal Ensign during the Apple Blossom today.

09 Apr 2010 4:08 PM
Saddle57

One of my all time favorites. I can watch her Breeder's Cup Distaff over and over. Truly amazing.

09 Apr 2010 4:09 PM
Darci

Was very sad to see that Person Ensign had passed away.  Her determination in the BC Distaff that year was incredible & I will never forget it or her.

09 Apr 2010 4:13 PM
KentuckyFan

The thing that is so striking about her story is the fact that she had already won a Grade 1 at two - the Frizette - when she fractured a pastern. That's a serious injury, and not many owners are big enough sportsmen to dedicate the resources needed to bring a filly like that back to the races. But the Phipps got it right, and all credit to them for doing right by their wonderful racemare. Their 'payoff' was the wonderful list of accomplishments Personal Ensign registered during her amazing life. She goes down as the grand dame of the American Turf, and though Zenyatta might join her ranks no horse will ever surpass her.

09 Apr 2010 4:24 PM
TerriV

It's always sad to lose any horse but especially the great ones.  The timing is prophetic - like she's passing the baton.  Enjoy your heavenly pastures, PE.

09 Apr 2010 4:25 PM
sodapopkid

Zenyatta, The torch is passed to you now. You must honor PE and keep the fire burning.

You  filles are rare and your achiements are rarer, Not in a day of today can we say that we have a filly/mare that is undefeated in so many races as you and PE,PP have been.

You are all a gift from the racing gods, and a treasure for us mortals to endure.

You are far and very few in between, you are rare.

May today, and this year and years to come , may the world and it's humans learn to appreciate your special and rare gifts that you each have given us....R.I.P..PERSONAL ENSIGN...

09 Apr 2010 4:55 PM
Richard Patrick

Only the Ferdinand-Alysheba Breeders Cup was a better Breeders Cup race, with "the two Derby winners hit[ting] the wire together."

Whenever anyone stops believing, he or she only needs to watch Personal Ensign at the top of the stretch in the Breeders Cup, and then know that ANYTHING can be accomplished.

She did the impossible.

09 Apr 2010 4:59 PM
John T

 No matter how many Breeders Cup races come and go,Personal Ensign

getting up to beat the Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors on the line is the one that always stands out the most for me.On a track that did not suit her and looking hopelessly beaten as they turned for home,it truly was an remarkable

performance.Unlike so many other top class mares she went on to produce some good foals of her own.

09 Apr 2010 5:14 PM
Sherry

I was at the Breeders Cup that day standing down along the rail.  I have a very poor quality photo that I took just as PE caught WC. I treasure it, today more than ever. Rest in peace Personal Ensign.

09 Apr 2010 5:20 PM
Linda

Thank you for all the wonderful races and offspring.  You live forever in our hearts.

09 Apr 2010 5:29 PM
smartysgal

Personal Ensign was such a tremendous mare, words just cannot do her justice.  I admire those that have not tasted defeat.  They never wanted a horse in front of them when they saw that finish line.  Her offspring were a testament to her as well.  Tremendous.  What can I say?

Maybe this is a sight of great things to come with Zenyatta.  She will be racing in the Breeders' Cup Classic at the very track where Personal Ensign tasted her last victory - Churchill Downs.  What a way to go out.  Then perhaps our Miss Zenyatta will go off to the breeding shed and have just as spectacular a career there as Personal Ensign did.  Joy, joy!

09 Apr 2010 5:32 PM
Rose

wow--you bowed me over with your writing...I dont usually get sentimental, but you did Personal Ensign proud. I remember that race and was rooting for Winning Colors -and then here came that darn filly, PE...what a dramatic closer - I just couldnt believe a horse could be that determined -but when I found out she didnt like the footing of the track, I revamped my criteria for a great race horse... and she was definitely one ..  

09 Apr 2010 5:42 PM
Linda in Texas

In June of 09 Bloodhorse ran an article about a 4 year old son of Personal Ensign being for sale.

Does anyone recollect if he was ever purchased? He was not the greatest racehorse, but he certainly had all the right bloodlines.

It is the beginning of a sad day as i have said before, when i read that racing has lost one of it's greatest. I am comforted to know that she no doubt received a mountain of admiration, attention care and lots of special treats in her long life. I for one am glad she hopefully went quickly and did not suffer. May she rest in peace and the next one to receive her torch be as great as she. And thanks times 100 to her owners and all who cared for her daily needs.

09 Apr 2010 5:55 PM
Charmed By Silver

What an amazing mare to have never tasted defeat despite the odds. We are so lucky to watch another super filly run today. Go get 'em Zen.

R.I.P. Personal Ensign <3

09 Apr 2010 6:09 PM
joe c.

I snapped some great pics of Personal Ensign and her groom in the Belmont paddock before a victory.  One still views that BC stretch run almost twenty-two years and can't believe she'll do it.  It's so sad to see her generation of champions pass.

09 Apr 2010 6:12 PM
HappyFeet

Good bye beautiful mare. Enjoy your lopes in that field in the sky. You were one in a million.

09 Apr 2010 6:16 PM
GreyK

I was reminded of Rachel Alexandra's courage in the 2009 Preakness while watching the 1988 Distaff Classic.  What a great horse we've lost in Personal Ensign.  That kind of spirit is rare.  Run with the angels.  

09 Apr 2010 6:18 PM
Householder

And she like RA beat the Kentucky Derby Winner.  Tough loss for Winning Colors is right!  Was the Distaff still run at 1 1/4?

09 Apr 2010 6:22 PM
Jordan S

Very sad day for horse racing. I was too young to enjoy Personal Ensign during her racing career, but I have seen many replays of her races and she was one for the ages. I still get goosebumps everytime I watch her Breeders Cup victory, and watching her will herself to victory and displaying the heart of a champion takes my breath away. She was a champion of champions and will be missed.

09 Apr 2010 6:48 PM
cherokee chic

One of the best races I ever saw. That day, the track was a mess, but Personal Ensign showed us all what heart and guts she really had in her. RIP girl...you were awesome..

09 Apr 2010 7:13 PM
Greg J.

    While I know it is Inevitable that all of the greats will leave this earth at one point in time, Hearing of Personal Ensign passing, It brings up memories that seem like they were just yesterday.  One of my fondest memories of going to the track was in the Summer of 1988, When my Dad and myself went to see Personal Ensign run in the Whitney at Saratoga.  I was just 21 years old and that day almost didn't happen!  My Dad said NO way were we driving from his home in Vermont to Saratoga due to the rain.  I begged and pleaded that we have to see her run, He said it would be a waste because she didn't have a chance in the race against Gulch.   Well, Obviously I won the argument or I wouldn't be writing this!  She won in amazing fashion, Coming from behind and battling the great Gulch, She pulled away in the final strides and won her tenth in a row by two lengths, I think the first filly ever to do that? She Just missed the track record while running in the mud!  Anyways, It was a day that will live forever in my mind and I just wanted to Thank Personal Ensign for giving me that amazing memory, Thanks, May you be running with the Angels today and forever...

R.I.P. Personal Ensign...

09 Apr 2010 8:04 PM
julie o

I have watched every Breeders Cup race ever run, and only 2 ever made me cry- Personal Ensign's Distaff and Zenyatta's Classic.  I was sad to hear of Personal Ensign's passing, as I am with every great one's passing.  I take comfort in knowing that her descendants still grace our sport, and in knowing that the torch has been passed to Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.

09 Apr 2010 8:22 PM
Paula Higgins

Yes, one of the greatest horse races in history for sure. She was a magnificent horse. I am grateful she had 26 years and that the Phipps took care of her when she was injured. They did well by her. Zenyatta's win today honors Personal Ensign especially. As one great mare leaves this world, another one "picks up the torch."

09 Apr 2010 8:23 PM
nobody beats the wiz

great prose dan for a filly who was poetry in motion.

09 Apr 2010 8:47 PM
MRO

It has to be more than a coincidence that I read of the continuation of Zenyatta's undefeated career & Personal Ensign's passing. Very moving.

09 Apr 2010 8:48 PM
trackjack

The 1988 Breeders' Cup was the first of five that my wife and I have attended live.  I have also been blessed to see live,  Rachel beat the boys in last year's Preakness.  I have been blessed to witness Secretariat's final career start at Woodbine in the Canadian International and still carry a $2.00 across the board ticket on Big Red in my wallet. We were at the 1/16th pole at Belmont in '04, hoping to see Smarty Jones become the first TCW since Affirmed, only to see Birdstone pass him right in front of us and the crowd go from a wall of noise to dead silence.  We have been blessed witnessing so many great races and horses, live and on TV.  

We have been blessed.

But the best race I have ever witnessed was on that cold, rainy day at the '88 Breeders' Cup at CD as Personal Ensign seemingly out of it, struggling with the muddy track, began her relentless move. The noise of the crowd, bouncing off the old  Churchill grandstand, cheered her on along with my own screams.  No, she wasn't going to make it, too much ground to make up.  She was not going to catch the Derby winner.  But she kept coming, kept stretching those strides, right to the wire to win by a nose and remain undefeated.  The roar was deafening.  The moment burned into my memory.

Thanks Personal Ensign for your class, tenacity and heart.  Thanks Personal Ensign for reminding us why we love this sport.  Thanks Personal Ensign for your bloodlines and progeny to carry on.  Thanks Personal Ensign for the memories.  Rest in Peace.  

09 Apr 2010 8:53 PM
2:24

Vaya con dios Personal Ensign.  Thanks for the memories.

09 Apr 2010 8:56 PM
trackrat59

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of Personal Ensign.  Rest in peace girl.  My thoughts are with her connections and those that cared and looked after her through the years.  

09 Apr 2010 9:05 PM
Nancy

Isn't it odd that today Personal Ensign left us all with memories of her greatness and the racing Gods seemed to want her to pass the Torch to Zenyatta to continue their Olympic quest with her 16th win today.  God created these great mares, as well as all of the fillies who have fallen on the track.  Bless them all!

09 Apr 2010 9:22 PM
Cleone

The timing of this great mare's passing does seem prophetic, doesn't it?  I remember watching her down the stretch that day, thinking there was no way she could get there in time.  And then she did.  I still hold that race in my mind as one of the most thrilling I have seen.  Rest in peace, big girl.

09 Apr 2010 9:33 PM
smarie

Personal Ensign will always be remembered as one of the best racehorses ever. She simply would not lose. When you watch her Breeders Cup Distaff race, her final race, and see her struggling with the track surface and yet refuse to give up and finally, finally catch Winning Colors, herself no slouch, at the wire, you know you have witnesed something rare. And then to have her go on and be such a success as a broodmare - amazing. It seems fitting that Zenyatta won her 16th race in a row today. It is almost like a tribute to Personal Ensign. I agree - the torch has been passed. I will never forget you, Personal Ensign. Rest in Peace.

09 Apr 2010 9:34 PM
nina

RIP You great one. Run free.

09 Apr 2010 9:54 PM
CaitlynS

It seems amazing to me that today of all days she would pass. Just as Zenyatta was gearing up to tie the record. PE must have passed off the baton to Zen today. And I am sure she was right there with her the entire race. PE's determination reminds me so much of Zenyatta's... RIP Personal Ensign

09 Apr 2010 9:59 PM
ctgreyhound

Every sport has its standad-bearers & immortal victories. Certainly horseracing is no different.  The achievements of Personal Ensign will forever be pointed to as among the best the sport has to offer.

09 Apr 2010 10:09 PM
Gia

Racing lost one of its brightest stars today, probably one of the brightest we have ever known. There have been undefeated horses before, and have been since.. But how many of them go on to mother grade one winners, BC winners, and the dam of a BC winner? She's a grandma many times over now, and her last filly, an unraced filly by Derby winner Monarchos is the mother of the filly who won the Fair Ground Oaks.  She's a special filly to the Phipps clan because she brought them their first breeders cup, a special filly for Shug because she was a career maker, once in a lifetime horse.  She cemented a place for them in history who will never be forgotten. She's gone on to meet the "amazon" in that great churchill downs above, free of age and the infirmities that come with it and running again

09 Apr 2010 10:44 PM
BarbarosDerby1328

Moments such as this is what make this the greatest sport on earth. What a grand champion. A race of a lifetime by a horse for the ages. Zenyatta made her proud today.

09 Apr 2010 10:55 PM
Caro in NO

Personal Ensign was magnificent, a real champion. Her strength and courage will live on in her progeny, and her legacy and legend will continue as long as there are Thoroughbreds.

09 Apr 2010 11:51 PM
Mary

I got tears in my eyes when i first heard the news this morning.  Then i got tears in my eyes again when TVG replayed her incredible BC Distaff win against Winning Colors.  And now I have tears in my eyes a third time reading your lovely tribute.

RIP Personal Ensign.

10 Apr 2010 12:01 AM
Tairaterces

Her Distaff win truely made the impossible . . . . . . possible and will never be forgotten.

Her next to last foal, Baronial (05-Kingmambo)lost the 9th race, finishing 9th at Mountaineer tonight, April 9th. Where is her Forest Wildcat foal from 2006.

10 Apr 2010 12:51 AM
Jim P

I shutter each day I log on to Blood Horse for fear of reading news like this. As I wrote my friends, I cried.

We can count ourselves lucky that we knew this mare. Greatness was carved out of her character. Her impact on the breed, on racing, on fans, and particularly on the Phipps and Hancock families is beyond estimation.

I count myself lucky to be able to draw from her greatness and take a piece of it for my own.

I love you, Personnel Ensign, Rest In Peace Great Lady. See you next time around.

10 Apr 2010 1:23 AM
Mike S

I absolutely adored PERSONAL ENSIGN. She was one amazing and great racehorse. What a beautiful girl. Rest in peace.

10 Apr 2010 1:25 AM
Laura P

Personal Ensign: all class and all heart.  She simply refused to lose.  May she always frolic in green pastures!

10 Apr 2010 1:28 AM
gammyp6

I am so choked up right now. Only God can create such beauty and grace. Watching her BC is like  seeing it for the first time. And yes I also believe her passing away on the day of the Apple Blossom was part of a divine plan we humans don't really understand. I don't need to understand. Rest in peace sweet mare and God Bless Zenyatta.

10 Apr 2010 2:12 AM
Cyd

Zenyatta and Rachel are grand racing mares but neither are great as Personal Ensign.

Until they go to the breeding shed and produce grade 1 winners also. Very few really good mare reproduce on the scale that they raced, Personal Ensign did.

That is why she is great and the other two are just grand race horses.

10 Apr 2010 9:29 AM
Beverly

I'm am saddened at the passing of one of the greatest racehorses of all times. Her strength, courage and determination made her a mare for the ages. Thank you to the Phipps family for sharing her with the world. Many tears will be shed at your passing but you will always be in our hearts. Rest well Personal Ensign......

10 Apr 2010 11:07 AM
dispute

I was in tears reading your well written article and all the sentimental comments that followed in regards to one of the greatest racehorses of all time. She will always be a personal favorite and your article did her justice. When visiting Claiborne years ago,  Easy Goer was still alive at that time, one caregiver told us when asked about Personal Ensign, that she was the main mare when around her counterparts. When she brought her foal to the drinking trough, the others would scatter. Which seemed fitting,as they did the same,on the racetrack.

As for her last foal, Baronial is his name and raced yesterday on the dirt in a sprint at Mountaineer Park. He is by Kingmambo and the grass suits him better as would more distance. The new owners, Cardinal Racing, are racing primarily at Mountaineer Park. They have had him since he left Shug's care. When he ran here at Saratoga he won, he also was asked to run a 1 1/2 in his last race for the Phipps family. He isn't large in stature but has heart as he was 4th with a horrible trip. Next we know he was for sale on the internet. Surely not anything Mr.Phipps would be proud to see of an offspring from his favorite mare. I wish Baronial or Barney as they use to call him, well and hope that nothing happens to him in this cruel race world where horse slaughter exists.  He deserves better if not for his own accomplishments but in her honor.

RIP Personal Ensign you will be missed!

10 Apr 2010 11:45 AM
Marilyn

RIP Personal Ensign.   Horse racing has lost one of it's greatest champions. Now you have no one chasing you anymore, run free beautiful, with the other great ones, and THANK YOU for sharing your greatness with us mere mortals.

10 Apr 2010 12:36 PM
Destin Heath

I remember talking with Wayne Lukas about some of his most memorable races he even ran in, and the first one that came out of his mouth was the race where Winning Colors lost to Personal Ensign. He had such a great amount of respect when talking to me about her. He said she was one of the greatest mares of all time, and with that being said from the King of fillies it just amplifies her greatness. After he told me about this, I decided to go home and watch the race( I had never seen it until then, since I was born in 1988) I have never seen such a spine tingling race. That is the definition of the will to win.

10 Apr 2010 1:32 PM
quarterhossgal

I was lucky enough to see Personal Ensign beat Winning Colors on that cold damp day in Louisville.  The crowd could not believe the last few strides of the race, Winning Colors looked like the winner until the last couple of strides.

What a great mare!  She was fortunate enough to be owned by experienced horsemen, so she had a great life which she so well deserved. The great ones don't come along very often.  Zenyatta like Personal Ensign has dedicated owners that provide the best for their horses, their well being comes first.  I wish I felt the same for the great filly RA, she is a champion and I pray that her owner will treat her as one.

10 Apr 2010 1:35 PM
ANOTHER BID

I still get chills watching  that race. RIP PE

10 Apr 2010 2:15 PM
giselle

Im heartbroken.I was just thinking of her a few weeks back just out of the blue.I looked up her last race on youtube that day trying to recapture the overwhelming emotions I felt in those moments to the wire.I was a child back then and have witnessed many great races in my time,but PE is one of my most memorable.This year my dream of attending the Kentucky Derby is coming true.I had planned to also visit the great horses of my era,sadly I came to find most had passed on.I was elated to know PE was alive and well,so I thought I would stop by Claiborne to visit one of my childhood heroes,Im 3 wks too late.

10 Apr 2010 3:32 PM
mary

A great mare with a huge heart and what a producer! Amazing life! Always loved her!

10 Apr 2010 3:46 PM
TCFever

Anyone who loved PERSONAL ENSIGN will want to know about this rare find that I just discovered and ordered from HORSERACINGDVD.COM:

horseracingdvd.com/index.php

It is a 6+ hour video/dvd time capsule of PERSONAL ENSIGN showing all 13 CAREER RACES of PERSONAL ENSIGN. I have never seen her in all 13 lifetime starts so I will be eagerly awaiting my order and to have this instant collector's item in my collection of racing legends.

Long live PERSONAL ENSIGN!!

10 Apr 2010 6:27 PM
April

Personal Ensign. What a racehorse! What a broodmare! Are they made like her anymore?

10 Apr 2010 9:58 PM
Dale H

The first Breeders' Cup I attended was 1988 and have always counted myself as fortunate to have witnessed in person that epic Distaff. Eight years ago a friend and I got permission to visit Personal Ensign at Claiborne. She stood there quietly and tolerated me as I took a bunch of pictures and patted her a few times. It was one of those moments. She'll be missed and always remembered.

10 Apr 2010 11:05 PM
Sue

I was in tears when I heard about Personal Ensign's passing. You will always live in my heart, Personal Ensign.  

I loved everything about Personal Ensign--her fiestiness, her grace, her amazing accomplishments, and just for being her.  I always thought I would go visit her (and Genuine Risk) some day, but, like many people, that "some day" never arrived.  

With your passing, Personal Ensign, I am reminded that we cannot live our lives in a "some day" fashion if we are to live fulfilled lives.  I will honor you, Personal Ensign, by making a list of everything I really want to do and make each one happen.  

Thank you, Personal Ensign, for gracing our lives with your extraordinary life.

RIP, great girl, and run with the angels!

11 Apr 2010 3:00 AM
Rachel

I'm like Tiznowbaby, an unabashed Winning Colors fan who remembers that stretch run like it was yesterday and who could deny PE her greatness?

...and at the end of that thriller, there were no bloggers bashing one against the other, not one word against owners or trainers...just deep admiration for 2 great horses...

11 Apr 2010 7:02 AM
OLD TIMER

I was at Churchill Downs for Breeder's Cup 1988 and had bet Personal Ensign despite her short odds. I just could not bet against an undefeated horse and had to root for her. I did not have a great location and could only see a part of the race (around the eighth pole -- it was back in the pre-jumbo-tron days). I recall well seeing Winning Colors with what seemed a comfortable lead. I almost tossed my ticket. Then hearing the announcer with "here comes Personal Ensign" it still seemed like she'd never make up that ground. Not until later did I see the full race but what a race it was!

11 Apr 2010 8:42 AM
Peggy

Anyone know where Miner's Mark is now? Or even where one can get his offspring? I'm curently schooling an older gelding by him who is wonderful so am very interested in finding more.

11 Apr 2010 9:16 AM
wildblueroan

Personal Ensign was my all-time favorite race horse and a photo of her at the wire in the B.C. hangs in my office for inspiration. I've always thought there should be a P.E. "Courage in Racing Award" to honor those horses and people who overcome adversity (in her case, a metal ankle and a sloppy track) by sheer willpower. Racing is too focused on money. We should also recognize courage and heart, which is really what winning is all about.

The queen is dead, long live the queen-Zenyatta.

11 Apr 2010 10:38 AM
Susan

What was so remarkable about Personal Ensign in addition to her perfect race record, was her produce record. So many racemares don't go on and have offspring anything like themselves. You wish it, you hope it, but it doesn't happen very often.  She was one of the greats and she will never be fogotten.

11 Apr 2010 1:02 PM
Bob C

I have watched Thoroughbred racing since Sherluck spoiled Carry Back's bid for a Triple Crown in the 1961 Belmont Stakes.  Thousands of races later I can honestly say that Personal Ensign's 1988 Breeders Cup Distaff victory was the best race I have ever seen.

11 Apr 2010 8:37 PM
Judy B

Beautiful story about one of racing's greatest champions. Rarely mentioned is that Personal Ensign was handicapped, running with 5 screws in her ankle for most of her career

11 Apr 2010 10:58 PM
Justin Gooch

As a 19 year-old given the opportunity to work at world famous Claiborne, I have many memories. But nothing compares to looking out in the paddock and seeing Personal Ensign, near retirement but still ruling the paddock.  Her presence was amzing and I am honored to be able to say that I was around her and her offspring.  

12 Apr 2010 8:38 AM
Stan

What a great life she had. You go girl!

16 Apr 2010 9:36 AM
Lucky to be there

Was there for her first race as a 2 year old -- the same day as a grade one for 2 year old fillies -- with her time she would have one by 4 --- wow -- yes I cried with her last win

16 Jul 2010 1:07 AM

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