Charismatic (horse)

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For more uses of the term "Charismatic", see Charisma (disambiguation).
Sire Summer Squall
Grandsire Storm Bird
Dam Bali Babe
Damsire Drone
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1996
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Parrish Hill Farm & William S. Farish
Owner Bob and Beverly Lewis
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas
Record 17: 5-2-4
Earnings $2,038,064
Major wins

Lexington Stakes (1999)

Triple Crown classic race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1999)
Preakness Stakes (1999)
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1999)
United States Horse of the Year (1999)
NTRA "Moment of the Year" (1999)
Last updated on October 3, 2006

Charismatic (foaled March 13, 1996) is a stallion Thoroughbred horse, and is known as one of the closest challengers to the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing during the 37-year drought between Affirmed in 1978 and American Pharoah in 2015. He was trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden in the Triple Crown races by Chris Antley. Today, he stands at stud at Iburi Stallion Station in Japan, operated by the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders Association.[1]

His sire was Summer Squall, making him a third-generation descendant of both Secretariat and Northern Dancer, and his broodmare was Bali Babe. His succession from Weekend Surprise gives him blood relation to A.P. Indy, while his grandsire, Storm Bird, gives him blood relation to Storm Cat and Birdstone. His descent from Northern Dancer and Storm Bird gives him genetic connections, both paternally and maternally, to 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah. He was bred under a foal-sharing arrangement between William S. Farish and the Parrish Hill Farm of Dr. Ben and Tom Roach.

Charismatic did well as a two-year-old but was entered in claiming races by his owner, Bob Lewis, twice, as recently as February 11, 1999, three months prior to the Kentucky Derby.

He was a 31-1 longshot in the 125th Kentucky Derby on May 1, 1999, and won the race with a time of 2:03.20 around the 1¼ mile track. Charismatic finished by a head in front of Menifee, giving Menifee's trainer, Elliott Walden, his second Kentucky Derby place showing in his second entry. Cat Thief, also trained by Lukas, was third, and led most of the race. The win denied trainer Bob Baffert his third straight Derby victory. His three entries, two of which were co-favorites at 9-2 odds, failed to make the top three.[2]

Charismatic also won the 124th Preakness Stakes on May 15 with a time of 1:55.20 around the 1 3/16 mile track. He was 1½ lengths ahead of Menifee, again second, with Badge finishing third. Despite the Kentucky Derby win, Charismatic was not the Preakness favorite, posting 8-1 odds. Menifee was the favorite at 5-2.[3]

At the 131st Belmont Stakes on June 5, Charismatic was a 2-1 favorite, with Menifee second in odds at 7-2. The rivalry between Charismatic and Menifee was compared to Affirmed and Alydar in 1978. Charismatic looked like he would become the first horse in 21 years to win the Triple Crown, taking the lead in the final furlong. However, the horse faded and lost the lead to eventual winner Lemon Drop Kid with 1/8 mile to go, ultimately finishing third behind second-place Vision and Verse.

Sensing that something was wrong with the horse, jockey Chris Antley had eased Charismatic up in the final furlong, and he jumped off right after the finish and held up the colt's left front leg. Charismatic's foreleg was broken in two places, and Antley's actions saved his life by avoiding a more catastrophic injury. As it was, the horse was taken off the track in a van and underwent career-ending surgery the following morning.[4][5] The moment was selected by racing fans as the 1999 National Thoroughbred Racing Association Moment of the Year.

Charismatic finished his career with 5 wins, 2 places and 4 shows in 17 career starts, for total earnings of $2,038,064. He won the Eclipse Awards for 3-year-old Colt of the Year and Overall Horse of the Year for 1999.

In 2002, Charismatic was shipped to Japan to stand at stud. His current fee is ¥500,000 (about $5,000) for live cover.[6]

A film about Charismatic and Chris Antley was produced by Asylum Entertainment and directed by Steven Michaels, Joel Surnow, and Jonathan Kochas for ESPN's 30 for 30 series. It aired on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 8 p.m.[7]


Pedigree of Charismatic
Summer Squall

bay 1987

Storm Bird

bay 1978

Northern Dancer
bay 1961
South Ocean
bay 1967
New Providence
Shining Sun
Weekend Surprise

bay 1980

chestnut 1970
Bold Ruler
Lassie Dear
bay 1974
Gay Missile
Bali Babe

chestnut 1980


gray 1966

Sir Gaylord
dark brown 1959
Cap and Bells
gray 1958
Tom Fool
Polynesian Charm

bay 1972

What A Pleasure
chestnut 1965
Bold Ruler
Grey Flight
Grass Shack
black 1951
Good Example


  1. ^ JBBA Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "CNN/SI - 1999 Kentucky Derby - Charismatic wins Kentucky Derby - Sunday May 09, 1999 11:11 AM". 1999-05-09. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  3. ^ "CNN/SI - 1999 Preakness". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  4. ^ "CNN/SI - 1999 Belmont Stakes - Charismatic has surgery on broken leg - Monday June 07, 1999 05:50 PM". 1999-06-07. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Charismatic Update - Horse Racing - 06/06/99". 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  6. ^ JBIS Japan Bloodstock Information System
  7. ^ "ESPN Films: Charismatic - ESPN". 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 

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