Dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic has died.
The 21-year-old stallion, who returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan Dec. 4, was pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, Ky.
Old Friends president Michael Blowen announced the stallion's death Feb. 19.
Charismatic was discovered early Sunday 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," Blowen said. "Last night, at 6:30 (p.m.), 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 in 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 the 1999 Kentucky Derby (G1) after vying in claiming races just a few months earlier. He went on to capture the Preakness Stakes (G1) and found himself an unlikely Triple Crown contender for owners Robert and Beverly Lewis.
But in the Belmont Stakes (G1) 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.