Photo: Shigeki Yusa.
Dual Classic Winner Charismatic Dies Suddenly
GEORGETOWN, KY – FEBRUARY 19, 2017 – Dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic has died.
The 20-year-old stallion, who returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan on December 4, 2016, was pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.
The announcement of his sudden passing was made this afternoon by Old Friends president Michael Blowen.
The stallion was discovered early this morning. Attending veterinarian Dr. Bryan Waldridge was immediately called to the scene, but the cause of death is unknown. The results of a full necropsy are pending.
“Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable,” said Blowen. “Last night, at 6:30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. But none of us, unfortunately, has a magic wand. Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great Champion gave us.”
Bred by Kentucky by Parrish Hill Farm and William Farish, and trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Charismatic (Summer Squall-Bali Babe, by Drone) won, at long odds, the 1999 Kentucky Derby after vying in claiming races just a few months earlier. He went on to capture the Preakness Stakes and found himself an unlikely Triple Crown contender.
But in the Belmont Stakes the chestnut colt suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the wire. It was only through the heroic efforts of jockey Chris Antley — who quickly dismounted and held up Charismatic’s injured left front leg off the ground — that the injuries were career ending and not life ending.
Charismatic earned that year’s Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt, as well as Horse of the Year honors, and retired with five wins from 17 starts and earnings of $2,038,064. He entered stud at Lane’s End in 2000 and stood there for three seasons before relocating to Japan in 2002.
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 165 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.