Updated on 09/16/2011 9:06AM

Summer Colony cruises

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Summer Colony draws off to a 4 1/2-length victory in Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Summer Colony left no doubt as to who is the best older filly or mare on the East Coast - and perhaps the country - with a convincing 4 1/2-length victory in Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga.

Transcendental rallied for second - her third straight runner-up finish in a Grade 1 stakes - two lengths ahead of Dancethruthedawn, who was coming off a win in the Grade 1 Go for Wand.

It was Summer Colony's fourth stakes win in six tries this year and the first Grade 1 of her career. The first-place purse of $240,000 pushed her career earnings to $1,109,930 for owner-breeder Edward Evans.

Summer Colony had beaten Dancethruthedawn by a nose in the Pimlico Distaff Handicap in May. Friday, the two hooked up right from the start as Jerry Bailey, sensing there was no one to run with Summer Colony, opted to send Dancethruthedawn to the lead.

With Dancethruthedawn on the inside, the two mares raced heads apart through fractions of 24.37 seconds, 48.71, and 1:13.84. Summer Colony, under John Velazquez, took the lead entering the far turn and came to the quarter pole with a two-length lead. She increased her advantage while under a drive through the stretch. Summer Colony covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.15 and returned $3.70 as the 4-5 favorite.

"I had her any time," Velazquez said. "All the way around I was very confident with her. My filly was kind of galloping around, checking out the other horse inside of her. I knew as soon as I asked her, she'd be there."

Bailey said the only chance he had to beat Summer Colony was to either get away with an easy lead or force Velazquez to use his filly early. "As it turns out, I wasn't going to beat her one way or the other," Bailey said.

As Summer Colony crossed the finish line, track announcer Tom Durkin said Summer Colony had stamped herself as the best filly on the East Coast. Having defeated the West Coast leader Azeri in the La Canada in February, Summer Colony may simply be the best filly or mare in the country.

"To me, she's the best horse in the country," Velazquez said. "She met the filly on the West Coast once and she beat her, and I think she's better now than she was then."

- For the fourth time in the last five days, Edgar Prado won four races. He is 16 for 32 since Sunday and now leads Jerry Bailey in the rider standings, 44-36.