Star mare Sistercharlie moves past the greats with Grade 1 Flower Bowl success

Some six and a half hours after Europe's best female finished second in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, America's newest 'Queen of the Turf' remained on her throne as she added to a brilliant legacy.

Peter Brant's Sistercharlie moved into exalted company on Sunday as she captured the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park by three-quarters of a length under John Velazquez to notch her sixth consecutive Grade 1 victory and earn a free trip to California, where she will bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

"She's a rare horse," trainer Chad Brown said. "We're lucky to have her. She did everything she needed to do today."

So rare that the daughter of Myboycharlie came into Sunday grouped with a galaxy of the sport's greatest stars, all of whom had five straight wins, all in Grade 1 company. Gun Runner, American Pharoah, Wise Dan, Rachel Alexandra, Skip Away, Cigar, Paseana, Easy Goer, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed and Seattle Slew all reached five, but now Sistercharlie stands above them, leaving Zenyatta ahead of her with nine.

"We're talking about a future Hall of Famer," Brown said of the 2018 champion turf female.

The victory was the tenth in 14 starts for Sistercharlie and lifted her earnings to $3,482,003. It also removed one of the few blemishes on her impeccable record. This was her first victory in three starts at Belmont, and it was part of a spectacular day for her owner. 

Prior to the Flower Bowl, Brant's half-brother to Sistercharlie, Sottsass, finished third in the Arc behind Waldgeist and Enable, and after it, his Alabama Stakes winner Dunbar Road was third in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

Up next will be a return trip to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita, where she will be a hot favourite. 

"We're pretty confident going into the Breeders' Cup, as long as she stays healthy. She's remarkably consistent in the mornings and afternoons," Brown said. "I don't think we've got to the bottom of her yet. Some of the setbacks we've had along the way, though at the time they were very disappointing and inconvenient, kept her fresh. It goes both ways sometimes."

Also on Saturday

Belmont: Frizette Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m | 2yo fillies | dirt

Wicked Whisper (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) earned herself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies next month with a front-running victory at Belmont.

The daughter of Liam's Map landed the prize by two and three-quarter lengths and connections are optimistic about her prospects at Santa Anita next month over 1m½f. 

"We're going to enjoy the moment," assistant trainer Toby Sheets said when asked about the Breeders' Cup. "One step at a time. She finished great and she's classy. I don't see a problem at all with two turns."

Keeneland: Spinster Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m1f | 3yo+ fillies & mares | dirt

Blue Prize (Ignacio Correas IV/Joe Bravo) claimed back-to-back wins in the Spinster Stakes with a strong drive to score by half a length.

"Ignacio had her very keen today," Bravo said. "He said, 'Try to keep her quiet. She's ready to go'.

"After she broke in front, she got back underneath me. There were some really good horses in there, but she was able to [get] a stalking trip and watch them [in front].

"We've always said she runs great at a target. She listens to me. I really didn't have to do too much. It's fun to be part of a good horse."

The Spinster is a 'Win and You're In' challenge race awarding a fees-paid berth into the Breeders' Cup Distaff, a race Blue Prize was fourth in last year.