Multiple Grade 1 winners Rushing Fall and Sistercharlie provide Chad Brown with a strong hand in Saturday’s $500,000 Diana (G1) at Saratoga. The four-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer has won a record five editions, including the last four years, and Sistercharlie will be seeking her third straight victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair for fillies and mares.
Named female turf champion in 2018, Sistercharlie rallied past Rushing Fall to post a 1 3/4-length decision in last year’s Diana. She concluded 2019 with a third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita, and the 6-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie is eligible to improve upon a closing third in her seasonal opener, the July 25 Ballston Spa (G2), that came at a less-than-ideal 1 1/16-mile distance. Regular rider John Velazquez has the call.
Rushing Fall enters in good form after opening 2020 with comfortable wins in the Beaugay (G3) at Belmont Park and July 11 Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland. Primarily a front-running specialist, the 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready has won 10-of-13 career starts and relished distances up to 9-furlongs (3-2-1-0). Rushing Fall will take some beating under Javier Castellano.
A total of six are entered including Starship Jubilee and Call Me Love, the 1-2 finishers in the Ballston Spa. Starship Jubilee, who was named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2019, will put her four-race win streak on the line after holding on by a neck last time. Jose Ortiz replaces Castellano aboard the Kevin Attard-trained mare. Call Me Love, who was imported from Italy, has recorded runner-up finishes in the Beaugay and Ballston Spa from three U.S. starts for Christophe Clement. The 4-year-old Sea the Stars filly will be running late with Joel Rosario.
Mean Mary can’t be dismissed from consideration as she steps up in company with a four-race win skein, romping by 5 1/4-lengths in the June 27 New York (G2) at Belmont most recently. The 4-year-old filly captured a pair of Grade 3 events at Gulfstream earlier this season, winning all three stakes attempts in wire-to-wire fashion for Graham Motion, and hot-riding Luis Saez will be up on the expected pacesetter. Motion will also send out multiple graded winner Secret Message, who exits a third in the Aug. 14 Perfect Sting S. at Saratoga.