SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Diana Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking from the rail under John Velazquez as the even-money favorite, Sistercharlie was soon forced to take up when the rest of the field crossed over her inside position. Meanwhile, Hawksmoor found herself alone on the lead through initial fractions of :24.25, :47.77, and 1:11.62. Rounding the far turn, Ultra Brat launched a bid past Hawksmoor and seemed destined for an upset, but an all-out rally from Sistercharlie down the middle of the stretch was just enough to catch Ultra Brat by a nose at the wire in a final time of 1:46.26 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“Going to the 3/8 pole, I went to go around Javier (Castellano, aboard New Money Honey), and he went out, so I had to travel a little bit wider from the 5/16 pole to the 1/4 pole,” Velazquez said. “It cost me a little bit down the lane to get her back into rhythm. She switched leads late, but when she finally did, she gave me that spur down the lane to get down there in time. She’s a very good filly. She just has to put it together at the start and break better, but she’s definitely talented.”
After attempting to go through a rail opening at the top of the stretch, A Raving Beauty nearly ran into Hawksmoor when that foe filled the gap first, and slamming the brakes hindered her ability to catch her Chad Brown stablemate. Hawksmoor faded to finish behind her in fourth, while Proctor’s Ledge, New Money Honey, and War Canoe completed the order of finish.
Sistercharlie’s win was her second Grade 1 event since shipping to America from her native Ireland and improved her overall record to 9-5-3-0, including a stateside mark of 4-2-2-0. The 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie has earned $1,126,403 lifetime.
“She broke better than her last start (in the Grade 2 New York Stakes),” Brown said. “She ran a cleaner race at a shorter distance and got up in time. It’s frustrating that she’ll put herself in that position early, but that’s her. Even before she arrived to my barn, that was her running style – coming from behind. She has a lot of heart and a lot of class. This isn’t her ideal distance, nor was the mile and 1/16 in the Jenny Wiley. But just with sheer class, heart and ability, she can do it.”
Sistercharlie returned $4.30 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.30 to show. Ultra Brat brought back $10.80 to place and $4.60 to show, while A Raving Beauty paid $2.50 to show.