February 25, 2021

Sistercharlie makes history as two-time Beverly D. winner in course-record time

Sistercharlie and jockey John Velazquez capture the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park on Saturday, August 10, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Arlington Park

“She’s the horse of a lifetime.”

That was trainer Chad Brown’s reaction after Peter M. Brant’s champion Sistercharlie rewrote the Arlington record books on Saturday. Not content with merely becoming the first to win the $600,000 Beverly D. (G1) twice, the 2-5 favorite also lowered the 1 3/16-mile course record to 1:52.43. In the process, she booked her ticket to another title defense, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), as part of the “Win and You’re In” program.

Brown, who was celebrating his fifth straight victory – and sixth overall – in the Arlington Million’s (G1) sister race, went on to sweep the Grade 1s with Valid Point in the Secretariat (G1) and Bricks and Mortar in the 37th Million. Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand nearly tried Sistercharlie in the Beverly D., but ended up scratching in favor of the Million, where she made Bricks and Mortar work a tad to see her off.

Sistercharlie’s pacemaker, Thais, did her job well by roaring out to the front through fractions of :22.76, :46.23, and 1:09.66 on the firm course. As Thais opened up on the field, British shipper Awesometank was well placed by Florent Geroux in second, in keeping with her running style, and herself well clear of the rest.

Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez had Sistercharlie settled at the back, until giving her the cue to improve her position. By the time the leaders rounded the far turn, the superstar was advancing into third, and upon straightening for home, little suspense was left.

So great was Sistercharlie’s momentum that she caught Thais about the same time that Awesometank did, and blew past both. Stamping her authority by three lengths, Sistercharlie broke the course record (1:53.16) recently set by Bandua in the July 13 Arlington H. (G3). Bandua went on to finish third in Saturday’s Million.

The 15-1 Awesometank kept on to take second, and the William Haggas filly thereby prevented the late-running Competitionofideas from making it a Brown exacta. O’Brien’s Fleeting, the 3-1 second choice, closed belatedly in fourth. Thais held fifth from the outclassed pair of Remember Daisy and Oh So Terrible.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” Velazquez said of how far Thais got ahead early. “I was a little worried about the fillies from Europe. We had one in front (Awesometank) and one behind me (Fleeting), but I had all the confidence in the world in (Sistercharlie). She always takes care of business.”

Geroux, commenting on his view aboard Awesometank, admitted to a thought about Sistercharlie’s position.

“We had a great trip, I loved where we were,” Geroux said. “I looked back and I wondered if Sistercharlie might be too far back. I was riding my race, and we just got outrun – that’s the best filly in North America.”

Sistercharlie sports a five-race winning streak embracing the past two runnings of the Diana (G1) along with her Beverly D. bookends and the Breeders’ Cup trophy. Her overall resume of 13-9-3-0 reflects a victory in the 2017 Prix Penelope (G3) and unlucky second in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1) for original trainer Henri-Alex Pantall.

Runner-up in that summer’s Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in her debut for Brown, she was sidelined for the rest of the year by a lung infection. Sistercharlie returned to capture the 2018 Jenny Wiley (G1), and missed narrowly in the New York (G2), before compiling an Eclipse Award campaign.

Sistercharlie is by Myboycharlie, also the sire of 2014 Beverly D. winner Euro Charline. Her dam, the Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister, has since produced 2018 Prix Bertrand de Tarragon (G3) winner My Sister Nat (who beat Awesometank that day) and current Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1) star Sottsass.

The leading turf female in the United States, Sistercharlie is on course to make Breeders’ Cup history if she can become the first repeat Filly & Mare Turf winner. Only the great Ouija Board has won it twice, but in non-consecutive years (2004, 2006). Such a coup might help Brown’s bold prognostication.