Charismatic Wins Horse Of Year

Blondie band members from left to right, Clem Burke, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, backstage after being inducted at the tweny-first annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dinner in New York, Monday, March 13, 2006.

Charismatic, who broke a leg while straining for a victory in the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown championship, was honored as the Horse of the Year for 1999 on Monday night.

The strapping chestnut colt, a claiming horse in February and a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner in the spring, won the Eclipse Award as racing's top performer in a split vote with Europe-based Daylami, winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf on Nov. 6 in his only U.S. start.

Bob Lewis, who with his wife Beverly, owns Charismatic, said he was guardedly optimistic about the colt's chances.

"I have to say to you, quite frankly, when you win two-thirds of the Triple Crown and finishes third in the Belmont under conditions he did he deserves the honor," Lewis said.

Charismatic finished third in the Belmont Stakes, 1@1/2 lengths behind winner Lemon Drop Kid, while sustaining two fractures of his left front leg. The breakdown apparently happened with about an eighth-mile remaining. His record for the year was four wins, two seconds and a third, with earnings of $2,007,404.

Eclipse Award winners were honored Monday night at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Charismatic received two votes to one for Daylami in balloting by Daily Racing Form writers, members of the National Turf Writers Association and racing secretaries for National Thoroughbred Racing Association members track. Each vote was first one point, with the DRF and NTWA voting for Charismatic.

First-place votes for other division winners were worth 10 points each, with five for second and one for a third.

Daylami won the King George II and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England and the Irish Champion Stakes. Overall, Daylami had four wins in seven starts.

Charismatic, owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was the unanimous choice as 3-year-old champion, while Daylami was unanimous pick as male turf champion.

Daylami is owned by the Godolphin Racing operation of brothers Mohammed, Maktoum and Hamdan al Maktoum of Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, and trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

"I think he deserves it," trainer Bob Baffert said of Charistmatic's Horse of the Year victory.

Baffert trained Silver Charm and Real Quiet, who won the Derby and Preakness and finished second in the Belmont, respectively, in 1997-98. They won 3-year-old titles, but did not get Horse of the Year.

Two Baffert horses won Eclipse Awards on Monday night, and Baffert beat Lukas for Trainer of the Year. Baffert got the votes of the DRF and NTRA while the NTWA voted for Lukas. Each vote in the human Eclipse categories was worth one point.

Baffert's Eclipse champions were Chilukki, 2-year-old filly, and Silverbulletday, 3-year-old filly.

Other equine winners were Anees, 2-year-old colt or gelding; Victory Gallop, older colt, horse or gelding; Beautiful Pleasure, older filly or mare; Artax, sprinte; Soaring Softly, female turf horse; and Lonesome Glory, steeplechase horse.

All of them were unanimous selections except Victory Gallop, who got 25 points on first-place votes by the DRF and NTRA. Behrens got the NTWA's first-place ballot and totaled 20 points.

Other human award winners were Jorge Chavez, jockey; Ariel Smith, apprentice jockey; Frank Stronich, owner; and William S. Farish and partners, breeder.

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