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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Film about Charismatic, jockey Chris Antley debuts
In June of 1999 an unlikely chestnut colt named Charismatic, with jockey Chris Antley aboard, headed down the stretch at the Belmont Stakes, just seconds away from becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 21 years. Thoroughbred racing was desperate for this story of deliverance -- track attendance was in steep decline, starts like Seattle Slew and Secretariat were distant memories, drug abuse and bulimia were becoming issues in the jockey colony, and America's love affair with the Sport of Kings was waning. Into this void stepped Charismatic and Antley, both thought to be lost causes. The racing community had such a low opinion of Charismatic that he had been entered into claiming races just months prior to the Triple Crown races. As for Antley, he was considered a washed-up, anorexic, former drug addict who should have stayed retired from racing. Together, along with the expertise of legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas, they became the biggest long shots in 59 years to win the Kentucky Derby, and then followed up with another underdog win at the Preakness. They may have been denied their Hollywood ending, but their story of redemption lives on.