Peter M. Brant’s Sistercharlie, who traded decisions with stablemate Fourstar Crook in her first two starts of the season, won the rubber match in Saturday’s $600,000 Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington Park. The 8-5 favorite in this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), Sistercharlie not only handed trainer Chad Brown a fourth straight Beverly D. victory, but led home a barn trifecta in the Arlington Million’s (G1) sister race. The banner day for Brown extended to the Million itself, where stablemates Robert Bruce and Almanaar served up the exacta.
Brown saddled four in the Beverly D., and his only longshot, the 47-1 Thais, went forward to set the pace. The French import wasn’t exactly a rabbit, though. After an opening quarter in :24.53 on turf just upgraded to firm, Thais eased the tempo down in fractions of :50.53, and 1:15.29. Stablemate Inflexibility tracked in second, while Fourstar Crook was reserved in midpack, and Sistercharlie raced in her slipstream.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Athena, off a beat slow after hitting the gate, was deployed prematurely on the backstretch. The 7-2 second choice improved into fourth, but her momentum was short-lived, and she failed to threaten in the stretch.
Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez maneuvered Sistercharlie onto the back of Athena, now leaving Fourstar Crook to race in her wake, and the favorite was in position to range up out wide turning for home. Rolling past the stalling Athena and outkicking the early leaders, Sistercharlie was safely in front by the time Fourstar Crook came calling. That 9-2 chance closed well, but too late, and Sistercharlie held her at bay by a half-length. With Velazquez just hand riding her to the wire, she completed 1 3/16 miles in 1:56.77. Velazquez was recording a quick Grade 1 double after upsetting the Secretariat (G1) with the 38-1 Carrick.
Thais held third by a neck from the Ken McPeek-trained Daddys Lil Darling, who rallied up the rail to thwart a Brown superfecta. Inflexibility was just a nose away from rounding out the top four for the barn. Next came British shipper Nyaleti, Athena, 96-1 shot Oh So Terrible, and the ever-trailing Dona Bruja, last year’s dead-heat second in the Beverly D.
Sistercharlie consolidated her status as the leading U.S. turf distaffer with three major victories this term. The import captured the April 14 Jenny Wiley (G1) in her reappearance over Fourstar Crook and added the Diana (G1) at Saratoga last out. She’s a head away from being perfect in 2018, thanks to Fourstar Crook’s getting the jump on her in the June 8 New York (G2).
The runner-up in the 2017 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1) and Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), Sistercharlie also scored in the Prix Penelope (G3) at three. Her resume reads 10-6-3-0, $1,475,454.
Bred by Ecurie des Monceaux in Ireland, Sistercharlie is the second daughter of Myboycharlie to take the Beverly D., after Euro Charline (2014) did the honors for Marco Botti.
Coincidentally, 2014 is the last year that a trainer other than Brown won this race. In 2015, the disqualification of Ralph Beckett’s Secret Gesture from first to third elevated the Brown duo of Watsdachances and Stephanie’s Kitten to a one-two result. Brown’s Sea Calisi prevailed as the favorite in 2016, and Dacita made it a hat trick last year. Brown had one version of the exacta in 2017 as well, with his Grand Jete sharing second with Dona Bruja.
Quotes from Arlington
Trainer Chad Brown on his trifecta: “It’s very rewarding for my staff and my owners and my mentor, I’m thinking about him right now, Bobby Frankel. He loved this race. He loved coming to Arlington, a big supporter. He taught me so much and to be able to come back and use his training techniques, everything he taught me, to come here and have success in this race is really special.”
On whether the victorious Sistercharlie ever runs a bad race: “No. She’s very consistent. She’s the type of mare any trainer would love to have.”
On runner-up Fourstar Crook: “Fourstar Crook is a rock-solid consistent horse as well. So fortunate to have them in the same stable and when they run against each other neither of them deserves to lose. That’s the bad part. But, both of them deserve to be in the race and that’s why we run them.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez on Sistercharlie: “It was a perfect trip. We broke a little slow like always. As soon as we went past the wire I looked for the position I wanted and I got it. Then I sat there and I saw Ryan Moore (on Athena) move on the outside into the backstretch and kind of pushed him out and he came in, and I kind of followed him from there. From the half-mile pole there was just one horse to beat so I put her right behind that one and when I asked her she responded really well.
“She’s a really good horse but she has some quirks. She can run, though.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Fourstar Crook: “She’s a nice mare, she tries hard. She got beat by Sistercharlie, one of the greatest turf fillies right now. She ran very good. I didn’t want to go to early wanted to wait and she got a perfect trip.”
Jockey Florent Geroux on third-placer Thais: “It looked like the field was pretty spread out so I didn’t want to open up too many lengths. From there she hung on for third pretty well. Sistercharlie ended up winning, Chad ran one-two-three and we did well.”
Brian Hernandez Jr.’s view aboard Daddys Lil Darling in fourth: “She galloped out real well. Had a tough trip got stuck in behind couple of them. It looked like they were going to go on and they didn’t. Finally we were able to get a good run late but it was a little too late.”