Last seen winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), champion female turf horse Sistercharlie will make her reappearance in Saturday’s $500,000 Diana (G1) at Saratoga. The five-year-old mare launched her current three-race win streak with a nose tally in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair last year and regular rider John Velazquez has the call for Chad Brown, who will seek a fifth Diana victory with four of the six runners.
The classy Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie recorded a Group 3 triumph and a Group 1 runner-up in France before heading stateside for owner Peter Brant, and Sistercharlie has captured four-of-six U.S. starts, the only setbacks being a pair of close seconds. She’s proven highly effective off a freshening and may receive a favorable set-up for her late turn of foot.
Rushing Fall looms as a serious rival for E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Brown. The front-running filly brings a four-race win streak to the first Grade 1 of the 2019 Saratoga meet, losing only once from nine career outings, and the four-time Grade 1 vixen posted convincing wire-to-wire victories in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland and Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park this year. Rushing Fall will face more speed than recent starts but the More Than Ready filly showed her tractability winning the 2018 Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga from just off the pace. Javier Castellano rides.
Brown also trains Homerique and Thais for Brant. Homerique brought fine credentials from France to her U.S. debut this spring and the gray filly has scored as the favorite in a pair of starts, taking the May 11 Beaugay (G3) and June 7 New York (G2) at Belmont. Irad Ortiz retains the mount on the late runner. Grade 1-placed Thais will need to find form to challenge and could be forward early with the addition of blinkers.
Mitchell Road, who notched her four consecutive win and first graded tally when taking the May 18 Gallorette (G3) at Pimlico, does her best running on the lead and enters on the upswing for Bill Mott. The four-year-old will be tested for class in this spot and Joel Rosario guides. Secret Message, who improved to two-for-two this year when taking the May 26 Nassau (G2) at Woodbine, completes the salty field.
The $150,000 Sanford (G3) for two-year-olds will be offered earlier on the program and a short but competitive cast of five are entered. Raging Whiskey will be make his first start for new connections after being sold privately and transferred to Doug O’Neill, and the Maryland-bred colt exits a runaway maiden tally at Santa Anita on June 2.
By Bourbon Courage, Raging Whiskey dead-heated for third behind subsequent Tremont winner Fore Left and subsequent Bashford Manor (G2) victor Phantom Boss when opening his racing career in mid-May. He earned a field-best 87 BRIS Speed rating when graduating last time and Castellano picks up the mount.
By Your Side invades from Kentucky for Eddie Kenneally after rallying to win first out at Churchill Downs June 14. Irad Ortiz takes over the reins. Tomato Bill rolled to a 3 ¾-length score when unveiled at Delaware Park on May 22 and the Christophe Clement-trained colt keeps Kendrick Carmouche up. Memorable will try to improve upon a fifth in the Tremont and Cucina exits a maiden special weight win in his second start.