Division Rankings: Bricks and Mortar, Sistercharlie return

By Chip Gehrke
August 07, 2019 05:54pm

This weekend will see both No. 1 ranked turf horses in action, as divisional leaders and stablemates, Bricks and Mortar and Sistercharlie, are set to run at Arlington Park.

For Sistercharlie, the Beverly D Stakes offers the opportunity for her to become the first two-time winner of the event. Sent off as the favorite last year, she posted a half-length win over Fourstar Crook.

The task this time around for Sistercharlie should be significantly easier, on paper at least. One her main rivals, Magic Wand, will likely opt for the Arlington Million. That leaves Competitionofideas and Fleeting as her main contenders.

Competitionofideas won the Grade 1 American Oaks last December at Santa Anita Park, but hasn’t won in three starts since. Fleeting has won two times in eight starts, one of those two wins was a Group 2 event. Outside of Sistercharlie, the rest of the Beverly D field has won a combined two graded stakes from 30 starts.

Based off what we saw in the Diana (G1), her seasonal debut last month at Saratoga, it would be a major surprise if Sistercharlie doesn’t win Saturday.

Although Bricks and Mortar has a wide lead in the race for the Eclipse in the Male Turf division, there are still some questions yet to be answered by this son of Giants Causeway.

This season has seen him win all four of his starts, and in the Million, he’ll be trying to take down his fourth seven-figure purse of the season.

The state of the male turf division in this country is as weak as we have seen it in years, though. It’s fair to ask, has Bricks and Mortar just been beating up on a historically down division? For a horse who is in the thick of the Horse of the Year race, this question matters. The jury is still out.

Magic Wand, the filly who finished second to Bricks and Mortar in the Pegasus World Cup Turf earlier this year, finished well up the track in 11th 
last out when behind Enable and Crystal Ocean. She is back this weekend to try Bricks and Mortar again. So too his Robert Bruce, the Million winner from last year, who finished runner-up to Bricks and Mortar last out in the Manhattan Stakes (G1).

Make no mistake though, it would be a major surprise if Bricks and Mortar didn't come through Saturday.

Given that, here's a look at this week's rankings:

Older Dirt Males

1.  McKinzie 
– Scored the biggest win of his career in the Whitney (G1), which is enough for him to take over leadership of this division. Still, with only one Grade 1 win this season, his hold on this spot is tenuous at best. Will get one more start before an expected run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

2.  Mitole 
– Super impressive in the Met Mile (G1) but came up short in the Vanderbilt (G1). Despite the defeat, he still has time to reclaim the top spot in this division. The Forego (G1) on Aug. 24 at Saratoga is next.

Thunder Snow – Was scratched from the Whitney due to an elevated temperature. Will stay at Saratoga and prepare for the Aug. 31 Woodward (G1).

Seeking the Soul – I would like to see some consistency from the Stephen Foster (G2) winner. Will travel west for his next start in the Aug. 17 Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.

Vino Rosso – The Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner found things a bit tougher in the Whitney where he was a well-beaten third.

Next 5: Yoshida, Preservationist, Catholic Boy, Gift Box, Catalina Cruiser.

Older Dirt Females

Midnight Bisou  A facile victory in the Molly Pitcher (G3) on the Haskell undercard only continued her run of dominance in 2019. The Aug. 24 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga will be her next start, where she will face several that are ranked below her in the top 10. Another win will likely seal the Eclipse in my eyes.

Elate – With no Midnight Bisou to worry about, she found the winner's circle in the Fleur De Lis (G2) and dominated the Delaware Handicap (G2). They could meet again in the Personal Ensign.

Blue Prize – A runner-up to Elate at Churchill Downs, she then finished third to the same mare in the Delaware Handicap.

Wow Cat - Breeder’s Cup Distaff runner-up finally made her 2019 debut in the Shuvee (G3), where she finished runner-up again. I feel like she should take a huge step forward in her next start and be a factor in this division in the fall.

She’s a Julie – 
Just edged out for the place in the Fleur De Lis by Blue Prize but well clear of the rest. She was then third in the Shuvee.

Next 5: Come Dancing, Secret Spice, Escape Clause, Ollie’s Candy, Golden Award.


1.  Maximum Security – He doesn’t seem to get the respect he deserves and is clearly the leader of this division after his Haskell (G1) score. Crossing the wire first in three Grade 1 events this season, he has shown to be a very game horse in the stretch, proving difficult to get past.

Game Winner – Ran as expected in his Los Alamitos Derby (G3) romp. Will go next in the Travers as a possible favorite. He has a chance to take over leadership of this division from there.

Tacitus – Rough start that may have cost him against Tax in the Jim Dandy (G2), but part of being good in this sport is breaking. Will be among the favorites in the Travers.

Omaha Beach
 – Had some bad luck with the throat issues that caused him to scratch from the Derby and miss time. He's back to breezing and could return in Del Mar's Aug. 25 Shared Belief Stakes.

5.  War of Will – No real excuses in his off the board finish in the Jim Dandy. As the most traveled of the top tier 3-year-olds, he may get a rest and point to the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

Next 5: Tax, Code of Honor, Sir Winston, Country House, Mr. Money.


1.  Guarana – 
Passed another test in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), but she had to work for it in the stretch after setting a slow pace. Only three starts into her career, she already has two Grade 1 wins.

Serengeti Empress – Was game in a runner-up finish when sprinting in the Test Stakes (G1). Previous, she was simply second best in the Acorn but went extremely fast early.

Lady Apple – Got the job done with a half-length win in the Iowa Oaks (G3). The Fantasy Stakes (G3) winner also gave a good account of herself in the Kentucky Oaks with her third-place finish. 

Dunbar Road – The Mother Goose (G2) winner looked good in victory, but I question who she really defeated. Will likely go next in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga.

5.  Point of Honor – 
Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner finished well in her runner-up finish to Guarana in the CCA Oaks (G1). Will go next in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga.

Next 5:
 Covfefe, Bellafina
, Break Even, Jaywalk, Concrete Rose 

Turf Males

Bricks and Mortar – Has about as big of a lead in a division as you can with a last out Manhattan (G1) win, but how good is he? Will run in the Arlington Million this weekend where he may face, among others, Magic Wand, who just finished far behind Enable and Crystal Ocean, but who finished runner-up in his Pegasus win.

Catholic Boy – Although he may focus more on dirt races now, I believe he is better on the grass. Will we see him on it again, though? His connections seem intent on keeping him on the dirt for the Woodward (G1).

Robert Bruce  Ran a great race when second to “Bricks” in the Manhattan, with a rematch up next at Arlington Park.

World of Trouble – It will take a monumental effort to defeat this guy on the lawn. 

Channel Maker 
– The Man o’ War (G1) winner had every chance in the Bowling Green (G2) last month but couldn’t get it done when finishing fourth, beaten less than a length.

Next 5: Arklow, Channel Cat, Almanaar, Bowie’s Hero, Delta Prince.

Turf Females

1.  Sistercharlie - 
Eight months removed from her last start, the reigning Eclipse Award winner from this division was outstanding in her Diana (G1) win over Rushing Fall and Homerique. She's rapidly moving up the list of the best U.S.-based females this division has had in many years. Likely goes next in Arlington’s Beverly D. (G1).

Rushing Fall – Was second best to Sistercharlie in the Diana, and I can’t envision her beating the No. 1 anytime soon.

Vasilika – Beaten a half-length when third in last weekend’s Yellow Ribbon (G2) at Del Mar, Vasilika lost for only the second time in her last 14 starts. Still, she figures to have a say in this division with the Breeders’ Cup held in her backyard.

Magic Wand
 – Did well running against the boys here in the U.S, but just finished far back of Enable and Crystal Ocean in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England. Will likely go next against the males in this weekend’s Arlington Million (G1).

5.  Beau Recall
– Has been very good this season winning three of her five starts. Her Yellow Ribbon (G1) win was her second graded stakes score.

Next 5: Uni, Rymska, Homerique, Concrete Rose, I’m So Fancy.

Male Sprinters

Mitole – Don’t let the post-Vanderbilt overreaction fool you. He is still the best one-turn dirt horse in the world. Stuck on a dead rail, first race back after a grueling Met Mile, and an opponent who happens to freak once a year on the Saratoga surface. If he was going to lose a sprint race, last weekend was it.

2.  World of Trouble – Was a late scratch in last weekends’ Troy Stakes at Saratoga. Previously, his Jaipur (G1) score made him a Grade 1 winner this year on turf and dirt.

3.  Imperial Hint – Clearly, Saratoga is his favorite track. Won the Vanderbilt for the second year in a row in track-record time for his first win of 2019. He’ll need consistency to advance in this division.

Promises Fulfilled 
– Got some class relief in the John A Nerud (G2), and he came through with an easy win. Back on the work tab, the Aug. 24 Forego (G1) at Saratoga will be next.

Roy H – Since scratching from the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), he's getting back into the swing of things and is expected to point to the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) before another title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Next 5: X Y Jet, Cistron, Shancelot, Catalina Cruiser, Bobby’s Wicked One.

Female Sprinters

Marley’s Freedom – A model of consistency the last two seasons, she was back in the winner's circle in the Great Lady M. Stakes (G2) at Los Alamitos. Next, it's back to Saratoga for a defense of the Ballerina (G1).

Mia Mischief – Upset last week in in the Honorable Miss (G2) when finishing fourth, she won the Humana Distaff (G1) earlier this season.

3.  Covfefe
– This 3-year-old filly really stepped up her game in last weekend’s Test Stakes (G1) win over the Kentucky Oaks winner, Serengeti Empress.

Spiced Perfection – The Madison (G1) winner finished fourth in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Break Even – The 3-year-old is still unbeaten after her sixth straight win in Saratoga’s Coronation Cup on the grass.

Next 5: Dream Pauline, Amy’s Challenge, Late Night Pow Wow, Anonymity, Serengeti Empress.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Pages

Meet Chip Gehrke

Chip Gehrke has been with Horse Racing Nation since 2015 and currently serves as a Featured Writer. Based outside of Chicago, Chip can be found in the press box many weekends during the Arlington Park meet. The On The Air With Dr. Derby name originates from his local sports radio show appearances as an on-air racing expert. Now also a weekly contributor on FOX Sports radio's "The Fast Track," Chip can be heard giving his thoughts on the racing world every weekend.

In 2017, Chip was chosen to be a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. As a part of the NTWAB, Chip became a voter for the year-end Eclipse Awards, something he takes very seriously. Some of Chip's favorite writings from the last couple of years is the best way to get to know him, along with following him on Twitter at @doctorderby.

Manila and the Arlington Million

California Chrome in Rarified Air

Cigar and the Pacific Classic

Spending Time With Game on Dude

Go For Wand: Gone But Not Forgotten

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories