JockeyJohn R. Velazquez
TrainerChad C. Brown
OwnerPeter M. Brant
BreederEcurie Des Monceaux
DamStarlet's Sister (IRE)
The definition of “true grit” could certainly be applied to Sistercharlite (IRE), winner of the $2 million Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs.
The Breeders' Cup was her third consecutive Grade 1 win, and her winning margin in those three all totaled less than a length. The daughter of My Boy Charlie (IRE) completed 2018 with an enviable record of seven wins and three thirds in 11 lifetime starts, with earnings nearing $2.6 million.
In the Filly & Mare Turf, she was bumped going into the first turn in the 1 3/8-mile test, raced in the middle of the 14-horse pack under Hall of Famer John Velasquez, swung seven wide as they turned for home, and made a gutsy run to the wire, getting up in the last strides to edge Wild Illusion (GB) by a neck.
“She knows where the wire is,” said trainer Chad Brown, who saddled five mares in the race. “She has a lot of heart.”
Sistercharlie (IRE) proved her heart in every 2018 start. Well back in the early going in the Beverly D at Arlington that August, she held off stablemate Fourstar Crook to eke out a win. Previous to that, she took the Diana by a neck at Saratoga; won the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in the spring in her first start in nine months; and came flying from 28 lengths out of it to narrowly miss in the New York Stakes.
Perhaps her grittiest exploit didn't happen on the racetrack.
Sistercharlie, who started her racing career in France, came down with pneumonia after finishing second by a neck in the Belmont Invitational Stakes in July of 2017 in her United States debut, ending her sophomore season. The illness was definitely career-threatening, and for a while, looked to be life-threatening.
"It was challenging," said Brown, of getting her through the illness and back to top form. "She was pretty sick with a lung infection. Fortunately, we were able to overcome it with an excellent team of veterinarians. You needed patience, and (owner) Peter Brant is a veteran in this game. He understands patience. He's seen all aspects of it. We gave her all the time she needed and developed her along the way.”
Brant was a prominent owner in the 1970s and 80s, but took a hiatus from racing to focus on playing polo. A world-class player, Brant retired from polo in 2016 and came back to racing. Sistercharlie was his first Breeders' Cup winner since Gulch, who captured the 1988 Breeders' Cup Sprint.
“I love this game and I'm happy I'm back,” Brant said in the winner's circle with Sistercharlie. “This is the greatest win ever for me.”
|No Replay Available||December 17, 2016||Prix de la Gagnerie||DEAUVILLE||1|