ELMONT, NY – Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie on Sunday became the first North American horse since Zenyatta to win six straight Grade 1s when she took home the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Flower Bowl is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Sistercharlie receiving an automatic berth in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 2 under John Velazquez as the 1/5 heavy favorite, Sistercharlie sat in fourth early while her Chad Brown-trained stablemate Thais blitzed to an opening lead of as much as 12 lengths. Posting fractions of :24.21, :49.27, and 1:15.13, Thais remained unchallenged until the field entered the far turn, by which point her advantage was diminshing steadily.
Rounding the far turn, Sistercharlie had first run at her stablemate and initially held command shortly after straightening for home. Thais refused to yield, however, and fought back along the inside, turning what looked like a breeze into a full-on race.
Sistercharlie’s class prevailed in the end, however, as she kicked away clear while Mrs. Sippy gave chase. The defending Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) champion crossed 3/4 of a length ahead in a final time of 2:02.21 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the firm inner turf course.
“She’s been very good,” said Velazquez after winning his fifth edition of the Flower Bowl. “She’s done everything we’ve asked of her and I’m proud to be a part of it with Chad and Peter. She’s incredible. She was on the bridle and she’s never on the bridle. I tried to leave her where she was comfortable and let her go from there.”
Mrs. Sippy’s effort wasn’t enough to knock off the division leader, but she was able to take second by 2 1/2 lengths over Thais. Lantiz finished fourth by a 1/2-length over Beau Belle, who necked out Ferdinanda for fifth. Empressof the Nile completed the order of finish for the seven-horse field.
Sistercharlie’s win improved her record to 14-10-3-0 with $3,482,003. The logical next step for the Irish-bred 5-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie will be a title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in early November.
“We’re pretty confident (in the Breeders’ Cup) as long as she stays healthy,” said Brown after winning his fifth Flower Bowl in the past six years. “I don’t think we’ve reached the bottom of her. Some of the setbacks that she’s had have been a bit disappointing, but it’s kept her fresh, so it really goes both ways.”
Sistercharlie returned $2.40 to win and $2.10 to place, while Mrs. Sippy paid $2.80 to place. There was no show betting.