Duel Classic Winner Charismatic Remembered Following Sudden Death
Charismatic was found dead in his stall Sunday, and the cause of death for the 21-year-old stallion and dual classic winner was determined to be 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 the cause of death 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.”
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.”
Charismatic came out of nowhere as a last-chance qualifier to the 1999 Kentucky Derby, and then won the race as a long shot at 31-1 odds. He would go on to win the Preakness Stakes before suffering multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the wire in the Belmont Stakes. The image of jockey Chris Antley holding up Charismatic‘s injured left front leg remain vivid to many people today.