Analysis: Early move can defeat Sistercharlie in Beverly D. Stakes

August 07, 2019 03:47pm
Similar to the Arlington Million, the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Arlington Park features one imposing presence in Sistercharlie. This 5-year-old mare is the reigning Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare champion, as well as the 2018 Eclipse Award winner for best female turf horse. Can she lose?

Since switching to North America in 2017, Sistercharlie has only lost twice in seven starts. She finished a close second in each of those losses.

But a common thread exists in those two losses. In each case, the winning filly got a head start on Sistercharlie, and they held on in the stretch run.

For example, in the 2017 Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), New Money Honey possessed more early speed than Sistercharlie.

After the first half, New Money Honey settled in fourth, only a few lengths off the pacesetter. In contrast, Sistercharlie fell back to last.

Sistercharlie began to pass horses approaching the far turn, but New Money Honor moved up as well and met the leader. By midstretch, New Money Honey hit the lead, while Sistercharlie still had more work left.

Despite Sistercharlie hitting her best stride late, New Money Honey held on.

In the 2018 New York Stakes (G2), the race had a slightly different pace scenario with a run-off leader. But Fourstar Crook did move up earlier.

At the top of the stretch, Fourstar Crook reached third and already began to straighten out for the stretch run. Sistercharlie tipped out and ran a length or two behind her, but she needed a second to set up the final move.

Ultimately, the slight hesitation cost Sistercharlie, as Fourstar Crook accelerated a few more lengths ahead and held on towards the finish.

Fourstar Crook held better position on the turn and won.

In the Beverly D., there is little speed signed up on paper besides the rabbit Thais and Magic Wand. The latter is cross-entered in the Arlington Million.

Magic Wand owns enough tactical speed to get the jump on Sistercharlie, and one of her good efforts potentially gets the job done. Remember, she finished second to Bricks and Mortar in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and also second in the Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) overseas.

But despite some good races here and there, Magic Wand's long losing streak since the 2018 Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) remains a concern.

If the connections choose the Beverly D., Magic Wand is playable. But the bettor needs to demand value odds on a losing filly such as this one.

The next plausible upsetter is Competitionofideas, who shows three runner-up finishes since winning the American Oaks (G1) last December. Her Beaugay Stakes (G3) and New York Stakes (G2) losses are forgivable, as the winner Homerique is talented. As for the Matchmaker Stakes (G3) runner-up finish at Monmouth, a short field and slow pace affected her.

Competitionofideas lacks pace as a closer again in this spot. But if jockey Javier Castellano reads the scenario beforehand and secures a better position, she can get the jump on the expected favorite and win.

Plus, the string of losses might help Competitionofidea's overall value.

The last filly with a chance is Fleeting, Magic Wand's stablemate.

Fleeting's deep closing style makes it difficult, as she ran as a late closer in the Epsom Oaks (G1) and Ribblesdale Stakes (G1) over in Europe. But, Fleeting did settle closer in midpack in the recent Irish Oaks (G1).

Fleeting displayed talent by finishing third in the Epsom after some traffic trouble and second in the Ribblesdale and Irish Oaks. All three of those races came at 1 ½ miles though and she cuts back to 1 3/16 miles.

Marathon horses typically show less speed at shorter distances. But it is possible Fleeting works out some kind of trip from midpack or farther. She needs to find a way to secure the same position she held in the Irish Oaks and get a head start on Sistercharlie.

The rest of the field is overmatched. Remember Daisy and Oh So Terrible finished fourth and sixth against weaker horses in the Modesty Handicap (G3), while Awesometank shows limited talent as the third Euro.

Thais is a rabbit for Sistercharlie since they share the same owner. As for why they do not run coupled, that is another discussion.

If Magic Wand starts, she looks like the best alternative and playable as a win/place bet at 5-1 or higher. But if Competitionofideas or Fleeting float above 5-1, then they get the top spot as the alternative option.

Assuming Magic Wand opts for the Arlington Million though, then the pace will be awfully slow and affect Competitionofideas and Fleeting.

Ultimately, Sistercharlie merits all the respect in the world. If all the top contenders sit in the same spot at the top of the stretch, she will win.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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