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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Brant’s legendary mare Sistercharlie is back for another year of dominating America’s turf distaff division, making her 2020 debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
The Ballston Spa is a 1 1/16-mile inner turf route for females 4 and up that attracted a field of six (including one Main Track Only entry). This year’s edition is the third event on an 11-race card that also includes the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1).
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Here is a look at the full field for the Ballston Spa:
1. Call Me Love 5/1 – She has won half of her 10 lifetime starts and only finished off the board once, which occurred last time out in the 1 1/4-mile New York Stakes (G2). She was a two-time Group stakes winner in Italy last year and was second in this year’s 1 1/16-mile Beaugay Stakes (G3) while making her North American debut.
2. Bramble Queen 30/1 – All 9 career wins have come on turf, including last fall’s Illini Princess Handicap at Hawthorne against her fellow Illinois-breds. She enters off of back-to-back victories against optional claimers at Tampa Bay Downs and Delaware Park, but she has never faced anything close to this level of competition.
3. North Broadway 30/1 – She is owned and trained by the same connections as the heavy favorite and has just 1 victory from 3 lifetime starts. That hints that she is entered either as a rabbit for her stablemate to chase, or just in case not enough other horses were brave enough to challenge the former champ.
4. Another Broad / – The field’s Main Track Only entry will need a downpour to send this race off the turf, and the forecasts for both Friday and Saturday look sunny. If by chance she draws in, she stands as good a chance as anyone based on her wet dirt record (6-4-1-1).
5. Sistercharlie 2/5 – The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) Champion nearly repeated in last year’s edition, ultimately finishing third and ending her streak of six straight Grade 1 scores. She has a history of firing sharp every single start and rainer Chad Brown is an expert at returning horses fresh after long layoffs (29%).
6. Starship Jubilee 2/1 – The most likely upsetter on paper has done little wrong throughout her career and rides a 3-race win streak (all at the stakes level) heading into this event. She has yet to pop a 100+ Beyer speed figure away from Woodbine, however, and has only accomplished that feat three times total; by comparison, the favorite has earned a Beyer lower than 100 just twice.
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