May 23, 2019

Sistercharlie – 2018 Champion Turf Female

Sister Charlie and John Velazquez win the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on November 3, 2018 (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

By completing a unique grand slam of four majors in the division, Peter M. Brant’s Sistercharlie was voted champion turf female over European star Enable. She becomes the fifth Eclipse Award winner in this category for trainer Chad Brown, following Stacelita (2011), Zagora (2012), Dayatthespa (2014), and Lady Eli (2017).

Sistercharlie’s lifetime record courtesy of Brisnet!

An Irish-bred imported by way of France, Sistercharlie was a hard-charging near-miss in her U.S. debut in the 2017 Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1). Hopes of her becoming a force on the turf scene were postponed, however, after she came down with a lung infection. The illness was serious enough to sideline her for the remainder of her three-year-old campaign.

Sistercharlie came roaring back in the spring of 2018 as though she’d never left. Returning to action in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, she not only had to be sharp off the nine-month layoff, but also at a 1 1/16-mile trip short of her ideal. Yet Sistercharlie’s turn of foot was still superior as she quickened 2 1/4 lengths clear of stablemates Fourstar Crook and Off Limits in the all-Brown trifecta.

Next came a return to the Belmont Oaks course and distance for the June 8 New York S. (G2), where the 1-2 Sistercharlie came up a head shy of Fourstar Crook. The strange race shape, with a tearaway early leader, set the stage for the upset as Fourstar Crook got the jump. The Belmont Park inner turf must be Sistercharlie’s personal Waterloo, the scene of her only stateside losses.

Up at Saratoga, Sistercharlie rebounded with a last-stride verdict in the July 21 Diana (G1). The even-money favorite took the overland route, under a heady ride by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, to foil the 15-1 Ultra Brat by a nose.

Sistercharlie then added the August 11 Beverly D. (G1), the sister race to the Arlington Million (G1). This time rallying before Fourstar Crook, the 8-5 favorite had the satisfaction of setting the record straight.

The intramural rivals were expected to square off again the Flower Bowl (G1), but Sistercharlie skipped the engagement after a foot issue put her behind schedule. Fourstar Crook sailed to victory in the Belmont feature, complimenting Sistercharlie in absentia.

Sistercharlie was ready to wear the mantle of leading domestic hope in the November 3 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Godolphin’s British shipper, Wild Illusion, went off as the 5-2 favorite at Churchill Downs, but she could not fend off the late thrust of Sistercharlie.

Thus Sistercharlie stands alone in the record book for sweeping the Jenny Wiley, Diana, Beverly D., and Filly & Mare Turf. Her achievement is even more impressive when considering how few have won the Filly & Mare Turf and any one of the others.

Sistercharlie is just the second Beverly D. winner to follow up in the Breeders’ Cup, after Dank (2013). Similarly, the only prior Jenny Wiley heroine to go on to Filly & Mare Turf glory was Intercontinental (2005). Sistercharlie joins Perfect Sting (2000) and Forever Together (2008) as Diana winners to annex the Breeders’ Cup in the same year.

That overall body of work made Sistercharlie a deserving champion, despite the allure of Enable who beat males in her sole U.S. start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

With her 2018 mark of 5-4-1-0 and earnings of $2,054,200, Sistercharlie sports a career record of 11-7-3-0, $2,575,454. She won three of five outings for original trainer Henri-Alex Pantall, most notably the 2017 Prix Penelope (G3). Brant subsequently came on board, and she made his first start in his silks in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1). But for trouble in running, she might have been a classic winner instead of a hard-luck second.

Bred by Ecurie des Monceaux in Ireland and sold for a mere €12,000 ($13,646) as an Arqana October yearling, Sistercharlie represents the Danehill/Galileo cross. She is the latest outstanding daughter of Myboycharlie, the Danehill-line stallion also responsible for Australian celebrities Jameka and Peggy Jean as well as Euro Charline.

Sistercharlie is a half-sister to current Prix Bertrand de Tarragon (G3) winner My Sister Nat. Their dam, the Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister, is a full sibling to Group 3 scorer Leo’s Starlet and a half to Grade 1-placed stakes winner and stakes producer Anabaa’s Creation.

Plans call for Sistercharlie to keep racing in 2019. According to a report by Jeff Lowe on America’s Best Racing, the five-year-old is stationed at Brown’s winter headquarters at Palm Meadows, and possibly pointing for a Jenny Wiley title defense.

TURF FEMALE   FIRST-PLACE VOTES
     
SISTERCHARLIE   130
Enable   119