07/19/2011 2:30PM

Saratoga: Havre de Grace would point to Personal Ensign if purse were raised

Rick Porter, the owner of, Havre de Grace (right), is asking NYRA to increase the purse of the Personal Ensign.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Round 7 of the best rivalry in horse racing could be held at Saratoga – if the price is right.

One day after pouring cold water on a potential rematch with Delaware Handicap winner Blind Luck in the Grade 1, $300,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 28, Rick Porter, the owner of Delaware Handicap runner-up Havre de Grace, said he would reconsider if the New York Racing Association were to double the purse of the race to $600,000.

“Double the pot and it’s game on,” Porter told Daily Racing Form by phone Tuesday.

On Monday, Porter said that he and trainer Larry Jones were strongly considering running Havre de Grace against males in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes here on Sept. 3. The Woodward, run at 1 1/8 miles, is run six days after the Personal Ensign, a race Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer and part-owner of Blind Luck, said is the most likely next start for his filly. Blind Luck on Tuesday shipped back to Hollendorfer’s barn at Del Mar.

Blind Luck and Havre de Grace have developed quite the rivalry over the last year. Blind Luck has beaten Havre de Grace three times including a neck victory in the Alabama here last summer as well as the Delaware Oaks and last Saturday’s Delaware Handicap, in which Blind Luck got up by a nose.

Havre de Grace beat Blind Luck in the Cotillion last year and the Grade 3 Azeri this year. In last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, Blind Luck finished second, and Havre de Grace third behind Unrivaled Belle.

On Tuesday – three days before the Saratoga meet was to open – New York Racing Association officials were non-committal as whether they would entertain the notion of raising the purse of the Personal Ensign. NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward did admit that “it would be much more compelling for the two fillies to run against each other,” than to perform here in separate races.

In 2009, NYRA raised the pot of the Woodward from $500,000 to $750,000 to attract Rachel Alexandra, who rewarded that decision with a roof-raising victory in that race.