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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Horse of the year Charismatic dies aged 21

Charismatic wins the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico
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Charismatic, who in 1999 came close to snapping the Triple Crown hoodoo eventually lifted by American Pharoah in 2015, has died in Kentucky at the age of 21.

He had returned to the US in December after more than a decade at stud in Japan. His former trainer D Wayne Lukas told the Daily Racing Form: "He looked good enough that you probably could have tacked him up and galloped him."

Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends, where Charismatic was based, said on Sunday: "Right now everyone is pretty much inconsolable. Last night, at 6.30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement."

Charismatic ran in a claimer in February 1999 but that same May landed the 1999 Kentucky Derby as an unfancied 31-1 shot, and followed up in the Preakness. He also led the Belmont field in the final furlong as he attempted to become the first Triple Crown hero since Affimed in 1978, but faded into third behind Lemon Drop Kid and suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the line.

It was only through the 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.

Despite the Belmont defeat he was voted horse of the year at the Eclipse awards.

After his retirement he had a moderately successful stud career. His most decorated progeny were Sun King and Wonder Acute, multiple lower-Graded/Group winners in the US and Japan respectively.

He looked good enough that you probably could have tacked him up and galloped him

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