LOUISVILLE – Sistercharlie hit the front in the final strides and gave owner Peter Brant his first Breeders’ Cup victory since 1988 as the 4-year-old filly captured the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) by a neck at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The victory was the third straight for Sistercharlie, all in Grade 1 company and by a combined margin of less than length. It also marked her fourth Grade 1 victory in 2018.
The Irish-bred filly who started her career in France, has four wins in five 2018 starts and with a victory in the Maker’s Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf to go along with previous wins in the Beverly D., Diana and Jenny Wiley, she wrapped up the Eclipse Award as the year’s champion turf mare.
“She knows where the wire is,” said trainer Chad Brown, who had five entrants in the race. “She has a lot of heart.”
The 71-year-old Brant was one of the sport’s most prominent owners in the 1970’s and 1980’s but started winding down his stable in 1994 to focus on playing polo for his White Birch Farm team. A world-class polo player, Brant retired as an active player in 2016 and rebuilt his stable.
“I love this game and I’m happy I’m back,” an emotional Brant said in the winner’s circle. “This is the greatest win ever for me.”
Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, a three-time Group 1 winner in Europe, was second, three-quarters-of-a-length ahead of A Raving Beauty, who is also trained by Brown.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Sistercharlie was timed in 2:20.96 for the mile-and-three-eighths on “good” turf. She paid $8.60 to win.
It was Brant’s first Breeders’ Cup win since Gulch triumphed in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Sprint, also at Churchill Downs.
The victory was the 12th at the World Championships for Brown, who tied Aidan O’Brien for third on the all-time list, and his fourth in the Maker’s Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf .
By Bob Ehalt