Even Better Second Time Around
Peter Brant, the 71-year-old owner of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Sistercharlie, had so much success in his first life as an owner or co-owner. With 1979 and 1980 Older Filly Champion Waya, 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Swale; 1984 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Gulch, 1995 Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes winner Thunder Gulch, who made Brant the only breeder to have bred a Kentucky Derby winner and both his sire and dam, it’s amazing he ever walked away from the sport for two decades.
Brant, who is Chairman and CEO of White Birch Paper Company in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a noted arts advocate and the founder and president of the Brant Foundation and The Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, is also a world-class polo player. When he left racing in 1996, he concentrated on polo, playing for the White Birch Farm team and serving as founder of the Greenwich Polo Club and the Saratoga Polo Association and co-founder of the Bridgehampton Polo Club. He retired from polo in 2016 and returned to racing.
The brilliant filly Ruffian had led to his initial involvement. “I had always been interested in racing since I was a kid,” he said. “I used to go to the racetrack and watch all the great horses like Kelso and Carry Back run. But Ruffian, how great she was and how she performed, really affected me. I wanted to go into racing.”
The second time around? He credits 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. “I went out for the Belmont Stakes, and I just had a feeling he was going to win that day at Belmont,” he said. “I went out with my son Chris and we saw a lot of people that we knew and I just felt like, `Wow. This horse, after so many years, won the Triple Crown,’ and that kind of inspired me to get back in racing.”
Yet he won just three races in 2017 before hitting a huge home run in 2018 with Sistercharlie, one of trainer Chad Brown’s outstanding bevy of turf stars. Brant bought Sistercharlie in France in 2017. “This is the greatest win I’ve ever had,” Brant said after the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. “She hasn’t always been able to make her schedule because of the weather, or because of a spider bite, or because of a fever she had. She had a bout of pneumonia earlier. And she’s just overcome everything, and she’s very special, very special to me and very special to my family and I’m sure very special to Chad.”
Brant nearly had two winners in the Breeders’ Cup. His four-year-old filly Wow Cat, who he co-owns with Stud Vendaval, Inc., finished second by a length to the brilliant filly Monomoy Girl in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
It’s good being back.