09/20/2006 12:00AM

Personal Ensign pensioned


Personal Ensign, the Phipps family's undefeated champion and outstanding broodmare, has ended her breeding career at age 22 and will spend the rest of her days as a pensioner at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky.

Her retirement ends one of the sport's most illustrious careers, both on the racetrack and in the breeding shed. Undefeated in 13 starts, Personal Ensign claimed her title as champion older mare in 1988 after a dramatic nose victory over that year's Kentucky Derby winner, Winning Colors, in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She also won seven other Grade 1 events: the 1986 Frizette, 1987 and 1988 Beldame, the 1988 Whitney, Hempstead, and Shuvee handicaps, and the 1988 Maskette.

Her record as a producer was equally impressive. All eight of her starters so far have been winners, and three of them - My Flag, Miner's Mark, and Traditionally - are Grade 1 winners. She also is the dam of Grade 1-placed Our Emblem, who went on to sire 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem. In 1996, Personal Ensign was named Broodmare of the Year.

Personal Ensign achieved her career-long win streak after having fractured a rear pastern and taken almost an entire year off after surgery to repair it.

Bred and raced by the late Ogden Phipps, Personal Ensign is a daughter of Private Account and the Hoist the Flag mare Grecian Banner, who also produced Personal Ensign's dual Grade 1-winning full brother, Personal Flag. Both Personal Ensign and Personal Flag won Grade 1 events in 1988 and earned Grecian Banner the Broodmare of the Year title that season.

Personal Ensign's last foal is her 2006 colt by Forest Wildcat. She was bred back to Forest Wildcat this year but returned from the breeding shed barren.

"She was just letting us know it was time," Claiborne breeding shed manager Charles Koch said Wednesday. He said Personal Ensign is "a little arthritic, but, really, she looks pretty darned good."

Personal Ensign will reside at Claiborne among a group of other pensioned mares that includes Korveya, Narrate, and Arabian Dancer.