10/26/2016 3:13PM

Charismatic to reside at Old Friends


Charismatic, the star-crossed dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year, is being repatriated from Japan and will become a pensioner at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement in Georgetown, Ky.

The 20-year-old son of Summer Squall stood in Japan beginning with the 2003 breeding season after being purchased by the Japan Racing Association to stand at the JBBA’s Shizunai Stallion Station.

"This is yet another dream come true," Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen said. "Charismatic holds such special memories for so many racing fans, so it's particularly meaningful to be able to bring him home.”

Charismatic is scheduled to arrive in Kentucky sometime in late November after his trans-Pacific journey and undergoing mandatory quarantine. He will also be required to test-breed two mares, as import regulations require incoming stallions to be tested for contagious equine metritis (CEM), a bacteria mainly spread through semen that has been largely eradicated in the U.S.

Charismatic’s return journey is being sponsored in large part by a gift from his former owners, Beverly Lewis and her late husband, Robert, via their Robert and Beverly Lewis Foundation. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, also a supporter of Old Friends, has also made a donation.

Charismatic will become the third Kentucky Derby winner and fifth American classic winner to reside at Old Friends, one of the nation’s flagship Thoroughbred aftercare programs; 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm – also campaigned by the Lewises – and 2002 Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem were both shipped to Old Friends from Japan at the conclusion of their stud careers. Touch Gold and Sarava, who denied Silver Charm and War Emblem a Triple Crown sweep with their respective Belmont Stakes victories, were both pensioned to the facility after stud careers in the U.S.

"My family and I are so pleased to learn that our Horse of the Year Charismatic will be returning from Japan and will be joining our beloved Silver Charm at Old Friends," Beverly Lewis said.

Charismatic rose from obscurity to become a household name with his Triple Crown bid in 1999. After needing a disqualification to reach the winner’s circle while running for a $62,500 tag and finishing unplaced in the Santa Anita Derby, the colt put together a cluster of outstanding races for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, beginning with a victory in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in stakes-record time.

That performance earned him a spot in the Kentucky Derby, and picking up the mount on the 31-1 longshot was Chris Antley, who had won the Derby on Strike the Gold eight years prior and had come back from addiction and a battle with his weight to return to the saddle. Charismatic won the Derby and then the Preakness to set up a bid for the Triple Crown.

In the Belmont Stakes, Charismatic dueled early with champion filly Silverbulletday before fading in the stretch, finishing third behind Lemon Drop Kid and Vision and Verse and emerging from the race with a fracture to his left front ankle. Sensing something was amiss with the colt, Antley pulled him up shortly after the wire and lifted and held his injured leg, immobilizing him until help arrived. He has been credited with saving the horse’s life.

Charismatic was retired to stallion duty at co-breeder William S. Farish’s Lane’s End and stood there until being purchased by the JRA.

From 424 foals of racing age, Charismatic is the sire of 371 starters and 263 winners for progeny earnings of more than $44.5 million. His runners in the U.S. were led by Sun King, who won four graded stakes, including the 2005 Pennsylvania Derby, and earned more than $2.2 million. He placed in eight Grade 1 events. Charismatic is also the sire of Grade 3 winner Gouldings Green and of Wonder Acute, a multiple group stakes winner in Japan.

Charismatic is the sire of Old Friends resident I’m Charismatic, who arrived at the farm in February 2010 after bankrolling more than $200,000 while winning 10 of 92 career starts.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Unlock access to handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, reports, charts, and more. Start your 30-day trial for 1¢. (First-time members only.)