April 6, 2017

Things often don’t turn out as expected. An April celebration was originally planned for Charismatic to greet his “Inner Circle,” the supporters who each donated $199.99 toward his return home. Today those of his Inner Circle who could gather at the farm instead had to be content to celebrate Charismatic’s memory and the all too brief presence among us of his unique combination of beauty, pride and kindness. Due to the dark, rainy day my photos are blurry. I apologize for this, but I thought those who couldn’t join us might like at least an impression of the gathering.


Charismatic’s paddock sign and photo, the Lewis family’s racing colors, and the logo of major donor Tito’s Handmade Vodka decorated a display.

This is only a part of the beautiful display prepared by Cindy Grisolia and her team of volunteers. Thanks to Cindy’s culinary expertise, the many members of Charismatic’s Inner Circle who braved the blustery weather were warmed by excellent refreshments.



Michael shares a few words of thanks.


Sun King visits with one of his dad’s fans.

Though Charismatic couldn’t be here to thank those who helped bring him home, his best son did the honors. Sun King’s own Kentucky Derby participation in 2005 was not one of his better races, but he did win the Tampa Bay Derby and Pennsylvania Derby. When loss of fertility led to his retirement from stud, Sun King came to Old Friends thanks to his owner, Tracy Farmer, who also retired Commentator and Albert the Great to Old Friends.


Charismatic’s monument. His burial joins Skip Away’s and Noor’s in the farm’s front cemetery.

Charismatic’s ashes are buried in the front cemetery of Old Friends’ Georgetown, Kentucky farm. Michael announced that this cemetery has been named in memory of Nikki Bacharach, the daughter of Angie Dickinson and Burt Bacharach. Mr. Bacharach enabled the retirement of the blazingly fast Afternoon Deelites to Old Friends.

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Afternoon Deelites, taken by Laura a few evenings ago when it was spring.

While I’m sharing photos Laura took a mere 48 hours ago when spring seemed here to stay, here’s one of Tinners Way enjoying the best grass of the year.


Tinner enjoys the warmth the same evening.

Spring will return. Maybe it’s a lesson in endurance and hope. Or maybe the weather is just being contrary because Keeneland’s Spring Meet opens tomorrow.

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Hidden Dark enjoys the sunset light.

All the horses are slowly shedding their winter coats in preparation for summer’s warmth. Hidden Dark, our most senior mare, is about halfway through this project.

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Dinard and Early Pioneer

Speaking of seniority, Dinard, at 29 the oldest Thoroughbred on the farm, shows that he’s still a great athlete. 2000 Hollywood Gold Cup winner Early Pioneer makes a late run. Will he catch Dinard at the wire? Come visit them soon and find out.




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2 responses to “April 6, 2017

  1. Amy Gulbrandson

    Thanks so much for sharing Charismatic’s celebration as well as the photo-visits with the other retirees—we are looking forward to our visit in May! Many thanks to all of you for everything you do every day.

  2. Jeanne Wolverton

    Thank you for posting this. Beautiful headstone but heartbreaking at the same time. Many were planning a visit this year to see him, I’m sure. Old Friends is a wonderful place that I am always telling people about. They all need to get out and visit these brave and graceful hero’s!!!

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