08/26/2010 3:26PM

Life At Ten's six-race winning streak on line vs. Rachel in Personal Ensign

Four-Footed Fotos
Life At Ten has won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles during a six-race winning streak coming into the Personal Ensign.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When you have a horse who has won six consecutive races in distances from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles, one would figure to be quite confident entering the next race.

But when the field for that next race includes the reigning Horse of the Year, it’s a little difficult to be too confident. Such is the case for trainer Todd Pletcher, who will send out Life At Ten against Rachel Alexandra in Sunday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga.

The Personal Ensign will go as race 10 on an 11-race card that begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Life At Ten, whose six-race winning streak includes the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap at the Personal Ensign distance of 1 1/4 miles, drew post 4, two spots outside of Rachel Alexandra.

“I don’t think the post was hugely important, but I’m happy to draw outside of the other speed,” Pletcher said. “We’re going to give it a try.”

While Life At Ten is already proven at 1 1/4 miles, Rachel Alexandra has not yet run that far. At 3, Rachel Alexandra beat males in the Preakness at 1 3/16 miles.

“She laid down fast fractions that day when she did it,” Pletcher noted. “It’s pretty hard to fault the other filly’s r é sum é .”

In the Personal Ensign, Rachel Alexandra will be returning to Grade 1 company for the first time since she beat older males in the Woodward Stakes here last September. After losing her first two starts this year, Rachel Alexandra won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs in June and the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth last month.

On Thursday afternoon, a modest contingent of media and curiosity seekers watched Rachel Alexandra school in the Saratoga paddock without turning a hair.

Also entered in the Personal Ensign are Miss Singhsix, runner-up in the Delaware Handicap, Classofsixtythree, third in the Ruffian, and Persistently, a second-level allowance winner here on July 30.

Zacney seeks more success from Afleet Alex’s son

Chuck Zacney still remembers the atmosphere at Saratoga when Afleet Alex overcame his own immaturity to win the Grade 1 Hopeful in 2004. After bearing out from jockey Jeremy Rose’s left-handed whip at the eighth pole, Afleet Alex got back on track inside the sixteenth pole to win the Grade 1 Hopeful by a neck.

“It was awesome. I had my son on my shoulders, the place went dead silent when he swerved to the rail, then the place went wild,” Zacney said. “The papers said `Elite Alex.’ It was really special.”

Six years after Afleet Alex won the Hopeful, three of his sons are in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes. One of then, Afleet Again, is owned by part of the partnership that owned Afleet Alex. Zacney, Joe Judge, and Joe Lerro still comprise Cash is King. The other two sons of Afleet Alex are Admiral Alex and Afleet Express.

Cash is King still owns a majority interest in Afleet Alex along with Jess Jackson and the Gainesway Farm where he stands. Afleet Alex is among the leading second-year crop sires in the country.

Afleet Again, trained by Butch Reid, will likely be the longest shot on the board in the Travers. Odds didn’t deter him in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in April, a race he won by 1 1/2 lengths at a price of 24-1. Since then, he finished third in the Spend a Buck, second in the Grade 3 Pegasus, and fifth in the Haskell.

“We’re excited,” Zacney said. “We always defer to Butch and Butch said he’s training better at Saratoga than at Monmouth. We wish we drew better than post 10, but we’ll sit off the pace and try to pick up the pieces.”

Wall Street Wonder eyes Icecapades

Wall Street Wonder, the multiple stakes-winning sprinter who has been away from the races since being eased in the Churchill Downs Handicap on May 1, is being pointed to the $100,000 Icecapades Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 5, trainer John Terranova said.

On Thursday, Wall Street Wonder worked five furlongs in 59.77 seconds out of the gate over the main track.

“He worked great, looks like he’s ready,” said trainer John Terranova. “He hasn’t run in a while, just wanted to make sure he’s fit. He ended up having a couple of other horses to work with.”

Terranova backed off Wall Street Wonder earlier in the summer when the temperatures were extremely hot. But Terranova picked up the pace with Wall Street Wonder when the temperatures began to get cooler the last few weeks.

“He’s liking it now,” Terranova said. “He’s starting to show signs of his old self. He’s training like he’s supposed to now.”

Before the Churchill debacle, Wall Street Wonder won three consecutive starts, including the Grade 3 Toboggan and the listed Paumonok Stakes at Aqueduct during the winter.

Garden City new target for Check the Label

Check the Label was listed at 7-5 in the morning line for last Sunday’s Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes. But when steady rain compelled management to move the race from the turf to a sloppy main track, trainer Graham Motion opted to scratch his grass specialist and go back to the drawing board to map out future plans for his three-time graded stakes-winning filly.

“My filly is doing very well right now and I really wanted to run her the other day,” said Motion. “Now we’ll just have to sit and wait for the Garden City at Belmont Park which is another three weeks away.”

Check the Label has gradually developed into one of the top 3-year-old turf fillies in the country. The daughter of Stormin Fever presently owns a three race winning streak that began with a victory in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Appalachian and continued with wins in Belmont’s Grade 2 Sands Point and Colonial Downs’ Grade 3 Va. Oaks.

“Naturally I’m disappointed we didn’t get to run in the Lake Placid but on the bright side is the fact that now we’ll have a fresh horse for the Garden City and Queen Elizabeth II which are the two most important races for 3-year-old fillies on the turf,” said Motion.

Motion also reported that his Shared Account, runner-up to Proviso in the Grade 1 Diana, will make her next start in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont on Oct. 2 as perhaps a prelude to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf four weeks later.

“That will give her eight weeks between races so I’ll have two really fresh fillies for the fall,” said Motion.

◗ Notable workers over the main track on Thursday morning included Regal Ransom (five furlongs in 59.66 seconds); Warrior’s Reward (five furlongs in 1:00.52); You and I Forever (five furlongs in 1:02.11), and Charitable Man (four furlongs in 49.09).

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch