Secretariat

Travels with Charlie

The fans have spoken and the horse with the popular name is also the most popular horse, winning the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Here is the story behind the charismatic and courageous Hot Rod Charlie. ~ Steve Haskin

Travels with Charlie

By Steve Haskin

My apologies to John Steinbeck for stealing his title, and Hot Rod Charlie is by no means as compatible a traveling companion as Steinbeck’s pet poodle Charley. But Steinbeck did conclude his 10,000-mile journey in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, which were all stops for Hot Rod Charlie on his 25,000-mile trek across the United States and back to California that included 10 cross-country flights and stops in New Orleans, Louisville, New York City, Oceanport, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Back home he made appearances in Los Angeles and Del Mar.

No one can deny the courage, fortitude, and consistency of this year’s top 3-year-olds. And they did stir our emotions. We saw the outpouring of love and admiration for Medina Spirit following the colt’s tragic death last week that deeply affected so many people. In many ways, Medina Spirit and Hot Rod Charlie, as well as Essential Quality, mirrored one another in the way they battled hard race after race without wavering even once. Any of the three would have been a worthy Secretariat Vox Populi Award winner.

But in the end, Hot Rod Charlie was voted the award by racing fans mainly because of his consistency, resiliency, toughness, and traveling all over the country to take on the best over any distance and any racetrack. What also separated him from the others is that many regarded him as a hard-luck horse who always tried his best, but often came up just short, with almost every race being a mini-drama. And because of that, they were always pulling for him to land one of the major races.

One of his most heartbreaking defeats, which may very well have endeared him to the public even more, was running such a gutsy race in the Haskell Invitational only to be disqualified. And this followed a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, which was considered by many as one of the greatest losing efforts in memory. To then travel back east for the fifth time this year and finally get that elusive Grade 1 victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby only increased his fan base and put him in position to be seriously considered for the Vox Populi Award.

And how can you not be a fan of a horse who, from November 6, 2020 to November 6, 2021, ran in eight races (six of them Grade 1) at eight different racetracks in six different states and never finished worse than fourth (excluding his disqualification), while finishing in the top three in seven of them.

To demonstrate how versatile he was and how he could be placed anywhere on the track, he won or placed at seven different distances from five furlongs on the grass to 1 ½ miles on dirt , and in his half-mile calls he was first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh, finishing in the money in all of them.

In his final start, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he was the only horse who posed a serious threat to the front-running older horse and likely Horse of the Year Knicks Go, making a move along the inside and getting almost on even terms nearing the eighth pole. But he was unable to sustain his move and was passed by fellow 3-year-olds Medina Spirit and Essential Quality, who finished just three-quarters of a length and a length ahead of him. Always in the mix, in Charlie’s previous defeats he was beaten three quarters of a length, a neck, one length, 1 ¼ lengths, and on a disqualification.

Despite all the hard races and all the traveling, he ran a career-high Beyer speed figure of 111 in his next-to-last start in the Pennsylvania Derby, the fastest non-sprint number by any 3-year-old this year. Perhaps he peaked in that race or perhaps the tough races and the traveling since January finally caught to him in the final furlong of the Classic. But he never stopped trying.

Before we go over all the stops in our Travels With Charlie let’s start at the beginning when Sean Feld called Doug O’Neill’s brother Dennis, who buys many of Doug’s horses at the sale, and told him that he and his father Bob were selling a half-brother to sprint champion Mitole by Oxbow at the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale that he really liked, but there was no interest in him and he was getting little action. So Feld sent Dennis photos of the colt and a video of him walking and Dennis fell in love with him. He then called Greg Helm of Roadrunner Racing, which had been buying only 2-year-olds and told him, “I’ve got a yearling you might want to buy.

Helm wasn’t sure his five partners wanted to invest in a yearling so he sent them an email trying to convince them to put up more money, explaining that he was a half-brother to Mitole and could make a good sprinter, and they all agreed. “That’s why we named him Hot Rod,” Helm explained. “We thought he would be a bullet.”

Dennis bought him for $110,000 with Roadrunner Stable going in for half and Dennis getting Bill Strauss and Boat Racing to go in for the other half.

Boat Racing is comprised of five college buddies and football teammates from Brown University, who formed a strong brotherhood after graduating. Heading the partnership is Doug and Dennis O’Neill’s nephew Patrick O’Neill, who became the spokesman for the group, who named the stable after a beer game from their college days and have been vocal and fun loving at all of Charlie’s races.

“The Boat Racing guys are a unique addition to racing,” Helm said. “To bring in that kind of youth and energy and devotion helps give the sport the strength it once had.”

That youthful energy was on display at the Breeders’ Cup post position draw, at which there is little reaction when a number is called. But, even though post positions had little significance in the Classic, when Hot Rod Charlie drew post 3, a huge cheer went up, much to the amusement of the crowd. It was Helm who played up to the Boat Racing boys’ exuberance, telling them before the draw, “No matter what post we draw, let’s make some noise.”

Patrick told Lenny Shulman of Blood Horse, “It’s been incredible. I can’t even put into words the experience we’re having. It’s so cool to be able to share this with family and my best friends in the world. It’s been a remarkable journey; crazy how one horse can bring so many people together.”

Hot Rod Charlie also has been running for a cause, with a portion of his earnings going to fight melanoma, which claimed the lives of Doug and Dennis’ brothers Danny and David at an early age. Dennis fought the same disease and was able to beat it.

Charlie’s career had started off rather uneventful. Because of the colt’s illustrious brother, Doug started him off at five furlongs, once on dirt and once on grass, but troubled starts cost him any shot at victory. He was then stretched out to a mile on grass, but ran a non-threatening fifth. What was most disappointing was that he was the favorite in all three races. Doug put blinkers on Charlie in a one-mile maiden race on dirt and he showed much more life, battling every step of the way to win by a neck over John Shirreffs’ highly regarded Parnelli.

Following the race Doug shocked Dennis when he told him that this was a different horse now and that he was going to run him next in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Dennis admitted he thought Doug was crazy, but the colt nearly pulled it off at 94-1, battling the undefeated grade 1 winner Essential Quality to the wire, getting beat only three-quarters of a length.

In his 3-year-old debut, the Robert Lewis Stakes, Charlie got bounced around like a three-cushion billiard shot in the stretch while in tight quarters between horses and finished a game third, beaten a neck, by Medina Spirit in a three-horse photo. He then wired his field in the Louisiana Derby, run for the first time at the extended distance of 1 3/16 miles. In the Kentucky Derby, he had to check passing the finish line the first time, right behind Medina Spirit, dropping back to fifth. He fought hard in the stretch, but fell a length short of catching Medina Spirit and Mandaloun, although he did out-battle Essential Quality for third.

He then provided one of the greatest second place efforts in the history of the Belmont Stakes, battling on the lead through a torrid half in :46 2/5, which was only a fifth of a second slower than Secretariat ran in his record Belmont victory. Again, he wouldn’t quit in the stretch, but just couldn’t hold off Essential Quality, who was able to sit back off that pace and wear him down, winning by 1 1/4 lengths with an 11 ¼-length gap to the third horse, Preakness winner Rombauer. It was the second fastest Belmont in the last 20 years, with only Triple Crown winner American Pharoah running faster. And this followed the second fastest Kentucky Derby in the last 20 years. The only Derby run faster was by Authentic the year before, but that race was run in September because of Covid when the 3-year-olds were far more advanced and experienced.

Charlie appeared to have finally landed his elusive Grade 1 victory when he out-battled Mandaloun by a nose in the Haskell Invitational only to be disqualified and placed seventh for interfering with Midnight Bourbon in the stretch. Despite another gutsy performance going for naught, Charlie missed the stakes record by only a fifth of a second and the track record by two-fifths. After the race, Bill Strauss told Helm, “We got Haskelled.” When the group later purchased a Practical Joke colt at the sale they named him Haskelled.

Everything finally went right for Charlie in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby and he had no trouble winning wire-to-wire by 2 ¼ lengths, earning his career-high 111 Beyer speed figure, but once again had to survive a foul claim for drifting out at the top of the stretch.

The previously mentioned Breeders’ Cup Classic was anticlimactic, but no one held Charlie’s fourth-place finish against him, knowing he gave 100 percent once again and was the first one to go after Knicks Go, which may well have cost him second or third. Even with only the two stakes victories and losing the rich Haskell purse, Charlie still ended the year with earnings of over $2 million.

“It was a heartbreaking, but exhilarating year,” Helm said. “It breaks your heart when he doesn’t quite get there, but he always puts everything into it and that’s why the people voted for him. We realized how popular he was when so many people at the Breeders’ Cup asked us for his hat. Charlie doesn’t fit the mold of your typical classic racehorse other than the size of his heart. When I think of the ride he’s taken us on it blows your mind.”

Contrary to the last two years when the Vox Populi Award was given to the eventual Horse of the Year,  this year the fans voted for a horse who has no championship aspirations, unlike Knicks Go, Essential Quality, and Medina Spirit. They threw away the stats and went with their heart, which was founder Penny Chenery’s intent when she created this award. Charlie showed that the true qualities of the Thoroughbred are not always determined by the number of victories as much as the fight and desire to attain those victories. And no one fought harder race after race than Hot Rod Charlie.

Photo courtesy of Coady Photography


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229 Responses to “Travels with Charlie”

  1. pro vet says:

    I find it hard to believe no one knows what a “boat race” race means………geez…..pretty common saying……..

    In Hydro Racing, whoever gets the lead seems to win…..there is almost never an exciting race……Boring…..”that was a Boat Race”…….refers to an easy win……usually wire to wire, but some use it for any easy many lengths win…….

    Yes. it doesnt have to be just hydro racing, many lower class racing works too……sailing is usually easy wins too……..

    So, naming it a stable name, makes sense……….

  2. 7.5 Furlongs says:

    Steve Haskin –

    Hello. Hope it’s not too early to talk about KD 2022. Last Saturday, T. Pletcher
    ran a two-year old colt at Gulfstream, named Emmanuel, More Than Ready-Hard Cloth by Hard Spun.
    I believe it was colt’s first start and won at one mile on dirt in 1:36:47 by six or seven lengths.

    How did he look to you on the track? Colt has solid pedigree and Thank God he’s not an Into Mischief colt.
    Think he’s one to follow in up-and-coming months.

    7.5 Furlongs

    • John Goggin says:

      Don’t know about those colts….instead was watching some of ‘prize’ two year olds at Los Al the past week. At this point we really need a definitive answer with regards to Baffert’s two year olds now….both female and male. Is the ban from CH going to stand….will the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission step in and rule in favor of the ban or pass on the dq of Medina Spirit or altogether ignore it.
      As I gather lawsuits are lining up one way or another especially from team Baffert.
      That said, it appears that WinStar has sent Grade1winner Country Grammer from Todd Pletcher back to Baffert with all eyes now on Life Is Good.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Emmanuel will be part of my next column. I was very impressed.

    • pro vet says:

      Amazing that you think Into mischief is not great……….

      • 7.5 Furlongs says:

        Never said Into Mischief “is not great” as a sire. Just think horse receives a lot of attention, well-hyped. Cost $250,00 to jump on his band wagon if you have the mare and bank account. I like horses/pedigree that fly under the radar with less hype and less fanfare.

        • pro vet says:

          Yea……you dislike a top stallion…….for what reason? Success? Thank God?…….what?

          • 7.5 Furlongs says:

            Have you heard of the future book bet to win the Kentucky Derby? Currently, Emmanuel is offered at 75-1 (Circa Sportsbook) and at 100-1 (William Hill) as a future book bet to win KD 2022.

            Whether Emmanuel was sired by Into Mischief or by More Than Ready could make a difference in the betting odds. Especially, if you factor in the recent successes of Into Mischief offspring in Triple Crown races. However, I am perfectly content with More Than Ready as his sire. He has a better chance of flying under the radar in future book betting.

            I don’t make large wagers. But, I play this sort of bet to make it interesting in the winter months. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet due to the lower than anticipated odds. Think the WinStar and Todd Pletcher connections have something to do with it. I only found out about Emmanuel four days ago and I’m still trying to get more info on this colt.

  3. Laurie Burford says:

    The absolute best thing about your articles is that they make me think and do research. I went back and looked at the race record for HRD and Knicks Go who I thought threw it all down in 2021. I became a fan of HRC early last spring when I recognized how gutsy he was it’s always fun to have you give us information that we are not aware of. I was always rooting for HRC and my husband Essential Quality please keep up the great articles, looking forward to the next.

  4. deacon says:

    Well written and excellent piece on a very popular horse. As they say the Cowboys are America’s team, Hot Rod Charlie is America’s horse. I hope he can shine a bigger and brighter light in 2022 with some Grade 1 wins. If he runs in the Pegasus he will be hard to beat.
    Thanks for sharing Steve.

  5. dick gasen says:

    Steve: Really good article about Charlie. There is a little problem with your underlying facts. Sean Feld, who I’ve known since he was 10, is NOT the brother of Bob Feld but is in fact his son. Bob’s brother is Jude Feld, a former great trainer, and long time color voice on the Horseracing Radio Network. He has never been a bloodstock agent as both his brother Bob and his nephew Sean are now as is obvious from their outstanding talents and past records.

  6. Dawn Miller says:

    Beautiful article Steve. Really touches the heart to be reminded, by you and of course by Charlie, why so many of us love thoroughbreds and horseracing. Thank you.

  7. Charlie intriqued me from the first time I saw him run. He was Gutsy and gave everything he had . His determination strung a chord in my heart, and he quickly became my favorite. I will always remember Hot Rod Charlie! He is the Best !

  8. DES says:

    What’s a boat race?

  9. Sharla Rae Sanders says:

    Thank you for a comprehensive analysis and report of our beloved Charlie. He has been special from day one. His partnership with Coach the amazing Lava Man told me he had something special early on. HRC was an excellent
    student learning quickly, a great mind and had the same “grab a lunch pail” work ethnic as Lava.
    Charlie caught people’s attention at two. His demeanor, his unusual coloring and of course his eye. Charlie misses nothin that’s going on around him in the shed row.
    To watch his races is like a giant roller coaster- you just brace yourself, and we did for everyone. We at Team O’Neill love everything about him and are thrilled that the owners are keeping him in racing for his 4 year old season.
    I am thankful that the people have spoken, he definitely encapsulates everything the award is about.
    Thank you again Steve.
    Let’s go Charlie!!

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Thank you so much, Sharla, and for providing an even closer look at Charlie and what made him so special. And as for Lava Man, I had suggested we give him a special award this year for being so instrumental in Charlie’s success and so closely linked to him. All the best in 2022. There no doubt will be more special moments to come. Just to let you knew there will be an upcoming column on Lava Man. I’ll keep you informed

  10. Matthew K W says:

    Steve Bob had four horses this Sat, at Los Al…three won impressively and Messier lost, but they all ran big—I really like the Cal-bred/home-bred by Nyquist (go figure) but horses bred in NY and Cali are getting state bred status with Kentucky sires! There’s a world of improvement for Slow Down, but he really stepped up–he was hand ridden home, and that was one of Bob’s best! I’m biased, wanting a Cal-bred…but this is the best Cal-bred Derby prospect since Chrome…I think he’s for real.

    • Matthew W says:

      PS—I know this is a Hot Rod Charlie post–I’ll report beac when I see him, on Dec 26,,,will be at the saddling barn and walking ring.

    • Lynda King says:

      The state bred status (California bred, New York bred etc) reflects the state the foal was born in.
      California Chrome was California sired and California bred. His sire, Lucky Pulpit, was standing in California and Chrome was born in California thus the California bred status not because Lucky Pulpit was standing there. Chrome does have the designation of being the first California bred colt to win the Kentucky Derby in 52 years.
      There was a discussion some years ago (do not recall where) that Secretariat was not Virginia bred but rather Kentucky bred because Bold Ruler was standing at Claiborne in Kentucky. Secretariat was “Virginia bred” because he was born in Virginia at The Meadow.
      The mares go to the stallions whether that is just down the road a piece or to another state or to another country.
      Reddam Racing is listed as the owner and the breeder of Slow Down Andy and the colt is considered to be California bred because that is where he was born. The Reddams have brood mares in both California and Kentucky.
      Nyquist was bred by Summerhill Farm in Kentucky and is currently owned and stands at Darley. The Reddams purchased Nyquist at auction. Nyquist is listed as a connection for Reddam Racing, possibly because they retained breeding rights to the stallion after he was purchased by Darley. (Do not know that to be a fact, just a guess).

      • Matthew W says:

        OK my bad…but Nyquist and Square Eddie are the two biggest studs, connected to Reddam, we have seen this movie before a mid pack stalker, who can stay like a mother in law, who beat Bob B’s nice colt Messier, and he did it GREEN…..lanky, slim but long—- I’d turn him out for a month, and go San Felipe then Santa Anita Derby, if he’s good enough then you send Lava and Slow Down to Kentucky—-and grab the roses.

        • Lynda King says:

          I do not know that I agree with turning the colt out for a month.
          Nyquist was a very precocious 2 year old and going into the Derby he was undefeated. He was also Two Year Old Male Eclipse winner. If my memory serves me correctly Mr. Reddam already had a breeding deal with Darley at the end of his 2 year old season. After winning the Derby he faded in his next 3 races.
          So far he has performed well in his stallion career: “The leading first crop sire of 2020, Nyquist’s other Stakes winners include Eclipse Champion two-year-old filly Vequist, winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; fellow G1 winner Gretzky the Great, Sovereign Award champion two-year-old; Curly Girl, winner of the Lady Fingers Stakes; Lemieux, winner of the Brethren Juvenile Stakes and Turnerloose, winner of the Aristocratic Stakes at Kentucky Downs. ”
          Yes, Slow Down Andy was very green in the Los Alamitos race, running somewhat erratically and looking at the crowd.
          Mario said in an after race interview that the colt was distracted but when Messier tried to get past him, Andy refocused and held Messier off to win the race.
          Messier was highly regarded and expected to win this race handily as the odds on favorite. Bob Baffert’s trainees have won the last 7 renewals of the Los Alamitos. Baffert’s other colt in the race, Barossa (by Into Mischief) took third.
          These two year olds continue to grow and mature both physically and mentally as they transition. In Andy’s case I personally do not think there will be any benefit to turning him out for a month and that he will benefit more by staying in training and gaining experience by running in races early next year. Andy got a late start (first race in October) and the Los Al was his third race.
          The O’Neil/Reddam/Gutierrez connections have been very successful.
          On a side not, Square Eddie has been pensioned and I’ll Have Another who had been standing in Japan was returned to the United States and is standing in California.. If you recall I’ll Have Another won two of the three legs of the TC and was scratched from the Belmont due to an injury. Mr Reddam sold the colt to Japan as he thought I’ll Have Another stood a better chance of success at stud in Japan, where he would receive higher-quality books of mares than he would have attracted in the U.S. Reddam added that he would like to someday reacquire I’ll Have Another, if possible. I’ll Have Another has the distinction of being the only Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to stand in California.

          • Matthew W says:

            I’ll Have Another was my biggest Derby hit, saw him work (by accident)…ears going front to back to front—“WELL? I’m waiting”….waiting for the bit, when he dropped his head down and got to work! Slow Down has done enough, has growing to do…maybe does not need to be let down, as you say there isn’t too much time….

            • Lynda King says:

              My favorites that year (for the Derby) were Union Rags, Alpha and Take Charge Indy. Do not recall having a particular favorite for Preakness and was delighted that Union Rags won the Belmont.

      • Matthew W says:

        I consider a Cal-bred to be by a California sire, and not by a Kentucky sire, conceived and dropped in California— and the same goes for New York breds, who happen to he my other favorite horses—Uncle Mo Cal/NY breds is just wrong, in my book! That’s why I loved Ancient Title, and Flying Paster! Cal bred, with Cal bred issues (stamina) That’s why I loved Snow Chief…..and Best Pal…and Super Diamond ..Lava Man…Sky Jack….and, finally—Chrome, who despite the modestly priced beginnings by a sire that didn’t win a two turn race, out of a mare that won once— an $8K maiden claimer at Golden Gate— became the #1 rated horse in the world.

  11. Rita says:

    Great read about little Charlie!! I have loved him since day one. Tuff guy and never gives up so happy he got this award!!

  12. Penny Weaver says:

    His “human” eyes make him special to me.

  13. John Goggin says:

    Outstanding column Steve…absolutely enjoyable reading. Congrats to Hot Rod Charlie and all of his connections….even to Lava Man – HRC’s lead horse that was in the stall next to him and accompanied HRC to many of his races.
    As a side note…wondering how many write in votes Medina Spirit gathered but also wondered if this was in some small way a proxy vote for MS that wasn’t listed.
    Either way congrats to Chuck…a feel good story in a year that horseracing needs a good story.
    FYI….Steinbeck’s ‘Travels With Charlie” was an excellent book….a book that perhaps inspired great travel writers like Paul Theroux or Bill Bryson.

  14. Tetrarch says:

    Ha, I voted for Charlie and he actually got it! Yay! It was great to see the 3YO colts repeatedly racing each other this year, and a good bunch they were too. I hope we have as much fun next year.

  15. Gale Harris says:

    I loved your appreciation of Charlie. So you don’t think it was syndicate votes this year?

    • Steve Haskin says:

      What syndicate are you referring to?

    • Sharla Rae Sanders says:

      There isn’t a syndicate to point for HRC. There are four owners of the horse. We do have fan followings with Doug O’Neill Racing Stable and I Am Lava Man accounts, however this was all Hot Rod Charlie and his fans. He had warmed many a heart based on the messages we receive. He’s a good story which he backs up on the track. I think “discounting” his votes by asking the question in my opinion isn’t fair to him. Then again, I see him every day and am admittedly bias.

      • Steve Haskin says:

        That question was valid last year with authentic and the huge My Racehorse vote. Thats why I asked her what she was referring to. She obviousy was misinformed about the Charlie’s ownership or she thought Boat Racing was a Royal Caribbean luxury liner and not a small outboard motor boat.

  16. Wanda L Smith says:

    I’ve loved this horse from the beginning and this reward is so satisfying. Thank you for the personal insights into his owners and his career.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I think Charlie getting the award was extremely satisfying to many people, even some of those who didnt vote for him. Hard to think he wasnt deserving.

  17. Lynda King says:

    No idea what it is about your columns Steve but they invariably bring me to tears.
    Just when I think I am going to give up this sport because of the heartbreaks, I am pulled back in by the heart joys and Hot Rod Charlie is one of the heart joys.
    Fans of this sport are always endeared to these hard knocking, never give up horses that throw their hearts down on the track every time.
    And to borrow a well worn old adage, “It is not if you win or lose, it is how you play the game”. Game well played, Charlie, game well played. CONGRATULATIONS!

  18. Jo Anne says:

    Well deserved

  19. Leslie Bonnette says:

    Steve – your last paragraph is exactly the feelings I had when I voted for Hot Rod Charlie. His ownership group was having so much fun and they were so wonderfully different. Maybe that is the was horse racing should go back to – FUN!

  20. Cynthia Holt says:

    It’s great to see the Vox Populi Award returning to its roots with the selection of Hot Rod Charlie as the 2021 winner. I wish that Medina Spirit had not been excluded from the ballot, but I believe that “Chuck” exemplifies everything that Penny Chenery had in mind when she founded the award. You give a super synopsis of his travails and triumphs over the past year, which makes me appreciate more than ever what a scrappy fighter this heart-stealing horse is.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Well said, Cynthia. I feel the award did return to its roots following back to back Horses of the Year winning, who in my opinion were not all that popular. But sometimes its about the competition and there are times when there just arent many if any real popular popular horses. I thought Whitmore would have been a good choice last year. But Authentic had huge backing from the huge My Racehorse group

  21. Margi Foley says:

    I’m very pleased with this result. I admit that when the nominations were first announced, I had a bit of a cynical reaction. I thought maybe they should rename this award to be the “Eclipse Populi” Award………who is your favorite likely Eclipse Award winner? Hot Rod Charlie and probably Life Is Good were the only two on the list to be “no-chance” and “unlikely” respectively to take home Eclipse hardware.

    The voters decided to stick with the original intent of this award; to give the people a voice of support for a horse who may not have been the best horse or the luckiest horse, but captured hearts through guts, determination, and resilience……on track or maybe even off, as in the case of Paynter.

    Good on the voters, and best of luck and all kinds of love to Hot Rod Charlie and his conbections as he embarks on a much appreciated 4yo campaign starting on December 26th!

    • Steve Haskin says:

      There is nothing wrong with an Eclipse Award winner winning, as the award also stresses performance and promoting the sport. Charlie is the fifth winner who who did not win an Eclipse Award and I think says a lot in that popularity is still a major factor. That is the same number of Horses of the Year who have won, so the percentage is equal as far as distribution. I wouldnt go by the two previous years. Each year has different circumstances and fans sometimes really dont know who to vote for. In my opinion Bricks and Mortar was an aberration in a year that didnt have much in the way of popular horses. And Authentic had a huge backing from the My Racehorse group.

  22. Carolyn Caswell-Brown says:

    Congratulations to Charlie and his connections for shining
    a spotlight on the joys of racing and friendship.
    Looking forward to more “Travels with Charlie” in 2022.
    Good for racing.

  23. Ms Blacktype says:

    Really nice writeup on Charlie’s epic 3YO season, Steve. I was tickled that he won the Vox Populi, because he really does epitomized what we as fans and horse lovers emotionally respond to in a racehorse. I’m looking forward to his 4YO season, as well as his stable-mate Slow Down Andy’s quest for the Triple Crown. (Amazing how easily he passed Messier in the Los Al, even when he was gawking into the stands and not settled down until after he had the race won.) Doppelganger looked like a comer too,

    Can’t wait for the first official Steve Haskin Dozen.

  24. Matthew W says:

    Congrats, Charlie, see you on the 26th, which may be the final west coast race for you—congrats, also to your stalemate Slow Down Andy, who is rapidly improving, long…and has his connections excited!