Broken Pelvis Cause of Charismatic's Death

Broken Pelvis Cause of Charismatic's Death
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Charismatic at Old Friends on Dec. 12, 2016, near Georgetown, Ky.

Dual classic winner and Horse of the Year Charismatic died Feb. 19 of a hemorrhage caused by a broken pelvis, Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm founder Michael Blowen and Park Equine Hospital's Dr. Bryan Waldridge and Dr. Rhodes Bell confirmed Feb. 20. 

"(Dr. Waldridge) told me on Sunday morning they found him expired in the stall, without any signs that he was in distress," Dr. Bell said. "From the (postmortem) exam, they found a pelvic fracture, which lacerated the vasculature causing hemorrhages."

Charismatic was discovered early Sunday morning. Attending veterinarian Dr. Waldridge was immediately called to the scene. The results of a full necropsy are pending. The son of Summer Squall returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan Dec. 3 and was pensioned at the Georgetown, Ky., farm. 

"I don't know the extent of it, but apparently he was dead before he hit the ground," Blowen said. "It's so terrible. It's really, really terrible."

"This was a sudden, catastrophic injury in his own stall," Dr. Waldridge said, stressing the level of care that Old Friends takes to ensure the health of the animals.

The veterinarian said he saw Charismatic a couple of days before his death and that he was in good health. Waldridge released a statement Feb. 21 on Charismatic's death following a necropsy.

"A necropsy performed at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory revealed that Charismatic suffered a severe catastrophic fracture of his pelvis that resulted in fatal bleeding," Waldridge said. "Pelvic fractures will in some cases also lacerate the large arteries of the pelvis and cause severe internal bleeding. Fatal pelvic fractures are uncommon and usually unforeseeable. It is not possible to know exactly how the injury happened or any factors that may have led to its occurrence."

The son of Summer Squall ended his career on the track for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis with five wins, including the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both G1), and $2,038,064 in earnings. He entered stud at Lane's End in 2000 and stood there for three seasons before relocating to Japan in 2002.

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