Big Brown’s shot for glory in the Belmont got me thinking about a horse named Charismatic, a horse that truly had an opportunity for greatness only to break down in the stretch of the Belmont in 1999 and finish third.
That after winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness….
Charsimatic got me thinking about jockey Patrick Valenzuela, one of the most troubled, yet charismatic, jocks ever to ride at Santa Anita or Hollywood Park.
Valenzuela’s struggles with substance abuse, suspension, and a robbery accusation, only highlight the demons some riders face.
If anyone had his share of demons, it was Charismatic’s rider Chris Antley, “the Ant Man.”
It was Chris Antley’s heroic move jumping from Charismatic’s back in the Belmont stretch that saved the injured horse’s life. Sadly Antley’s own life was cut short when he died in Pasadena in 2000.
The case was initially treated as a homicide, but for some reason Pasadena police dropped their investigation after learning Antley had ingested a toxic cocktail of illegal substances that may have contributed to his death.