Airdrie Stud confirmed that its top stallion Indian Charliewas euthanized at about 9:30 a.m. EST Dec. 15. The 16-year-old son of In Excess had been battling cancer.
"Losing Indian Charlie after a challenging battle with Hemangiosarcoma and its complications has been a shock to us all," Airdrie wrote in a press release. "He was dearly loved by everyone that cared for him on a daily basis. 'Charlie' has been a shining star at Airdrie for many years now. His personality, toughness, and utter determination remained with him throughout treatment.
"He won many hearts at Hagyard’s, and received an endless supply of much deserved carrots and peppermints while there. Our thanks go out to everyone involved with this fine stallion, and to our shareholders and breeders who faithfully supported Indian Charlie over the years.
"We would sincerely like to thank Dr. Nathan Slovis and his team at McGee Medical Center for their unrelenting efforts to try and save our stallion."
As a racehorse Indian Charlie only made five starts, but won four times for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Hal Earnhardt III and John R. Gaines Racing Stable. His victory over the Baffert-trained Real Quiet in the 1998 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) sent him to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) as the early favorite.
Sent off at 5-2 in the 15-horse field, Indian Charlie finished third to Real Quiet in what would be his last start. Given some time off after the Derby, he was in training to return in the Buick Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) but was retired after pulling a suspensory in a workout at Del Mar.
Earnhardt not only bred Indian Charlie in California, but raced his mare, Soviet Sojourn, as well.
"He was as homegrown as you could get, and that's why we were so emotional when we found out," said Earnhardt, who bred and raced his horses with his wife, Patti. "It hits home, especially because he was one we bred and raised, and had a champion out of him. Its very difficult.
“More than anything, he brought our family together. My family all got to experience the Derby for the first time with him, which are some great memories. Unfortunately, that was his last time out, but he will go down as one of the greats, not only as a racehorse but as a prolific sire. He was the whole package, which is hard to get sometimes.
"Airdrie did a great job with him over the years. He got the best care in the world and I have nothing but praise for them."
Indian Charlie is the sire of three North American champions headed by 2010 champion 2-year-old male Uncle Mo . Winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last year, Uncle Mo was a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) until a liver ailment sidelined him the week of the Derby.
Returned to training, Uncle Mo was beaten a nose in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I), then won the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) before running unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Uncle Mo will stand his first year at stud at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $35,000.
"It's obviously very sad news. He was an incredible sire and will be missed," said Mike Repole, who raced Uncle Mo. "I bought two Indian Charlie yearlings last year and one the year before. Hopefully the current and future sons of Indian Charlie will be able to carry on his legacy.”
Indian Charlie was also the sire of champions Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian. Indian Blessing, who like Indian Charlie was bred-owned by Earnhardt and trained by Baffert, was named champion 2-year-old filly in 2007 on the strength of her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), then returned the following year to land the female sprinter Eclipse Award.
Fleet Indian was named champion older female of 2006 after stringing together eight consecutive victories dating back to 2005. During the streak she won two grade I races, the Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga and the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park.
Indian Charlie began his stud career in 1999 at Vinery Kentucky and stood his first four seasons there for a fee of $10,000. He moved to Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., for the 2003 breeding season.
His success at stud saw his fee rise for six consecutive years, to $12,500 in 2004, $15,000 in 2005, $25,000 in 2006, $40,000 in 2007, $50,000 in 2008, and $75,000 in 2009. Market conditions prompted a reduced fee of $70,000 in 2010-11, and he was slated to stand for $75,000 in 2012.