Tremendous Heart Displayed by Z Command in Personal Ensign Win

The Personal Ensign (Grade 1) (BC)- $600.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies Four Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
August 1, 2020

This one would not be easy, but at the end of the Personal Ensign, one of the top horses in this division showcased her heart and talent, picking up the big win and punching her ticket to the BC Distaff once again. The winner would be Z Command, and we now know that she will be a part of the field to defend her BC crown during the fall. After winning the BC Distaff, she has not let up at all, with four wins in five starts, and now we can take a thick black marker and firmly cross out the Phipps, and not worry about what happened there again. It becomes the first win in the stake for trainer Smokey Stover as well as jockey J R Velazquez, each a couple of names that are commonly seen in many Grade 1’s. Congratulations to them! The time of the win was 1:48.51, a little slower than past years, but all that was needed. Let’s take a look!

(½ Mile- :47.82)- From her outside post, Puddle Jumper, out of Mb Stables, is the most ambitious from the gate, and pushes out to a quick lead of a length and a half before being content with that advantage around the turn. Hollywood Sister, from Winning Link Stables, holds the second position by herself early on, but would begin to have some company after half a mile. That would be from the Mb Stables-trained Cannolo, who had an interesting start in that she looked to be heading to back at the start, but within the turn, was determined to advance her position, and now ran two and a half lengths back. Our eventual winner, Z Command, was part of a group of three that ran as part of the pack, not having much interest in pursuing the leader. Z Command, for the moment, had an unobstructed third lane right in front of her, four and a half lengths from the front. To her inside, High On Haggis (Winning Link Stables) was on the rail and Pure Addiction (TwinTowersRacing). Trailing was Laffy Crack (Night Rider Stables), who had absolutely no interest in running near anyone early, dropping to the back immediately. She had eight lengths to make up now.

(¾ Mile- 1:11.44)- There is not much new to report here in how the field runs as they complete the backstretch and move into the turn. It is still Puddle Jumper running on the lead all by herself. Hollywood Sister is about two lengths back, and Cannolo is still to her outside. Z Command runs her race well at this point, staying in the money lane with four and a half lengths to make up. A move seemed imminent and she would have nothing holding her back when she decided to go, so now we were all waiting for her to hit her best stride.

(Top of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Moving into the stretch, you’d have to say that Puddle Jumper was looking pretty good. Had the rest of the field let her get away? She continues to hold her advantage of about two lengths and neither Hollywood Sister nor Cannolo had made any headway on her. Z Command started to hit her stride at the top of the stretch, but three and a half lengths was going to be tough to make up on Puddle Jumper if that one continued to run well to the wire. She would have some company as well in the form of Pure Addiction. That one had raced to her inside for the entire race thus far, and was having a push of her own at this stage. Both would have plenty of room to hold their lanes to the outside in the stretch. High On Haggis looked to be lacking response. Meanwhile, here comes Laffy Crack now looking to get involved, moving to within five lengths of the lead.

(Finish- 1:48.51)- In the stretch, Z Command began making her move, but Pure Addiction was not letting her get away. They were matching strides, and there was one point in the stretch where it was looking like Pure Addiction was going to be the better of the two of them. However, this is where we see what makes Z Command not just a good or a great horse, but a special horse. When she needed to find an additional gear to outlast Pure Addiction, she would be able to do so. However, there was even more work to do as Puddle Jumper was doing all she could to hang on to her lead. Then, if that wasn’t enough, here comes Laffy Crack! At the wire, it would be Z Command, showing the type of horse that she is, prevailing in a four way photo for the win with the three of them. Simply, a fantastic effort by her. Pure Addiction takes second, and in no way can she be faulted for anything here. Keep an eye on her and do not let her go off at odds of 12/1 in the future! Puddle Jumper hung on for third, and the late charging Laffy Crack gets a fourth place check for her effort. All four of these need to be looked upon very fondly wherever they end up next. Cannolo was not quite in the picture, but was within a length of it, finishing fifth. Hollywood Sister and High On Haggis round it out, but each finished within two lengths themselves.

About The Winner- Z Command, trained by Smokey Stover and ridden to victory by J R Velazquez, is a four year old filly by Good Authority, and is out of Z Broken One. She was bred in the great breeding state of Pennsylvania by Joshua Stables as a yearling and acquired by Smokey Stover in private sales in August 2019 for $575.000. Congratulations to the connections! The win is her ninth in 20 starts, her eighth stake win and seventh graded win. At the Spa, she has now won both the Alabama and Personal Ensign, a very strong accomplishment.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Z Command Smokey Stover Velazquez J R 1.40   1hd 1:48.51 98 
  Pure Addiction TwinTowersRacing Tunon M 12.25   2no 1:48.55 98 
  Puddle Jumper Mb Stables Davis D 24.25   3hd 1:48.56 97 
  Laffy Crack Night Rider Stables Leparoux J R 8.15   41/2 1:48.60 97 
  Cannolo Mb Stables Court J K 3.40   51 1:48.71 97 
  Hollywood Sister Winning Link Stables Cedillo A 5.85   61/4 1:48.92 95 
  High On Haggis Winning Link Stables Geroux F 5.00   7 1:49.01 95 

Track: Fast

Time: :474  1:112  1:353  1:482

$2 Mutuel Prices:

5 – Z Command 4.80 3.10 3.00
4 – Pure Addiction   9.70 6.10
8 – Puddle Jumper     14.90

$1 Exacta: 5 – 4 Paid 32.60

$1 Trifecta: 5 – 4 – 8 Paid 1,694.90

Scratched: Totally Baroque

Winner Picked By NS

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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