LOUISVILLE, KY – Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie returned her owner to the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle for the first time since 1988 while squeaking out the biggest score of her life in Saturday’s Grade 1, $2,000,000 Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs.
Breaking cleanly from post 6 under John Velazquez at 3/1 odds, Sistercharlie was bumped around a bit while comprising part of a close-running contingent heading into the far turn for the first time. She soon settled and stalked the pace from mid-pack while her Chad Brown stablemate A Raving Beauty posted lackadaisical opening fractions of :26.20, :51.81, 1:18.56, and 1:43.98 for the opening mile. The field bunched up tightly heading into and through the far turn, and as she straightened for home, Sistercharlie fanned seven-wide and commenced a rally to the front. The 5/2 favorite Wild Illusion was the first to tackle the pacesetter, but Sistercharlie sooned pulled up along her outside. The two fillies fought gamely inside the final furlong before Sistercharlie poked her neck forward at the wire, crossing in a final time of 2:20.96 for the 11-furlong event over the good turf course.
“We broke well and got a good position,” Velazquez said. “They kind of bunched up in there to get to the first turn, and then everyone started to crowd up because the pace wasn’t very fast. I liked where I was. She relaxed well where I was and was moving well past the wire the first time. From there, I just bided my time with her. I followed (Wild Illusion) and she won.”
Though she yielded late, A Raving Beauty held third by 1 3/4 lengths over Magic Wand, who had spent most of the race as the closest stalker. Athena rallied for fifth by 2 lengths over Eziyra, while Fourstar Crook was unable to advance much after being platooned along the inner hedges. Mom’s On Strike failed to gain past eighth after spending the majority of the race in last, while Princess Yaiza, Santa Monica, Fuhriously Kissed, Paved, Thais, and Smart Choice completed the order of finish.
Sistercharlie’s win was her fourth in 2018, all in Grade 1 events, and improved her overall record to 11-7-3-0. The Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie has now earned $2,575,603.
“She’s all class, this horse, and she knows where the wire is,” said Brown, who entered a total of five runners in the race. “She showed her heart there in the last stages.”
Sistercharlie returned $8.60 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.40 to show. Wild Illusion brought back $4.80 to place and $3.40 to show, while A Raving Beauty paid $6.40 to show.