08/23/2012 4:04PM

Saratoga: Brushed by a Star takes on division leaders in Personal Ensign


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Royal Delta and It’s Tricky will steal the headlines for Sunday’s Grade  1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap at Saratoga.

Brushed by a Star will try to steal the race.

Brushed by a Star, who won the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park last out, brings a three-race winning streak into the Personal Ensign, which this year has been shortened to 1 1/8 miles from 1 1/4 miles. Grant Forster, the trainer of Brushed by a Star, knows his filly will be a longshot in the Personal Ensign but said this is the next logical spot for a filly who won the Iowa Distaff on June 29 and the Molly Pitcher on July 29.

“Running against the two best fillies in the country in Royal Delta and It’s Tricky, obviously third for her would be a huge accomplishment,” Forster said Thursday. “She’s getting better and getting stronger after each race. It’s the next logical step after her win at Monmouth.”

Brushed by a Star won just two of her first 13 starts but after a freshening following an 11-race campaign at 3, she has won three of four this year, including a second-level allowance win at Churchill against males.

Forster said Brushed by a Star was turned out for 60 days at Lambholm South, a farm in Ocala, Fla., before joining his stable at Oaklawn in March.

“She hinted at more and we always thought when she grew up and developed she’d be a better filly,” Forster said. “She obviously exceeded our expectations.”

Brushed by a Star runs for a syndicate known as Team Forster, and one that includes people from all across the country. One owner is the former NHL goaltender Gary “Suitcase” Smith, who played for a bevy of teams during a 17-year career.

Royal Delta, last year’s 3-year-old filly champion, won the Alabama over this track last year. She is coming off a hard-fought neck victory over Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap last month. Tiz Miz Sue is in this field as well. Royal Delta breaks from post 3 under Mike Smith.

It’s Tricky is expected to scratch out of Friday’s Grade 1 Ballerina to run in this spot. It’s Tricky is 3 for 3 this year, including a victory in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont on May 28. She drew the rail.

Also entered are Love and Pride and R Gypsy Gold, an uncoupled entry from trainer Todd Pletcher.