08/30/2009 12:00AM

Icon Project wins Personal Ensign by 13

Barbara D. Livingston
Icon Project and Julien Leparoux are all alone in the stretch in Sunday's Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What appeared to be a very competitive edition of the turned into a one-horse show for Icon Project, who cruised to a Rachel Alexandra-like 13 1/2-length victory over Swift Temper for her first Grade 1 win Sunday at Saratoga.

Icon Project benefited from a picture perfect ride by Julian Leparoux, who placed the 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker just behind early leaders Weathered and Unbridled Belle during the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign. Icon Project engaged Weathered for command midway around the second bend, easily forged to command entering the stretch, then steadily increased her advantage despite being taken in hand by Leparoux.

Swift Temper, who led throughout to beat Icon Project by 2 1/4 lengths over a speed conducive strip in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap six weeks earlier, was easily second best, finishing 5 1/2 lengths in front of Morena. Miss Isella, Weathered, With Flying Colors, Sea Chanter, and Unbridled Belle completed the order of finish.

Icon Project's victory was reminiscent of her dominating 13-length victory in the Grade 3 New York Stakes at Belmont Park on June 20, which came in her first career start on dirt. The Personal Ensign was trainer Marty Wolfson's fourth Grade 1 win from just six tries at Saratoga. Wolfson also won the 1995 Test and 1996 Ballerina with Chaposa Springs and the 2006 Forego with Pomeroy.

Icon Project covered the distance in 2:02.37 seconds over a good track and paid $5.60 as the favorite in a field of eight older fillies and mares.

"I thought she'd win, but I didn't think she'd win by that far," said Wolfson, who trains Icon Project for owner Andrew Rosen. "She ran the same way in the New York Handicap. She would have won the race in Delaware if she'd gotten the same trip she got today. At the three eighths pole, the way she was tugging on Julian, I knew it was just a matter of how far she'd win by."

Wolfson was noncommittal regarding Icon Project's next start although Rosen mentioned the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 11 as a potential target