Ranch & Coast Magazine

July 2023

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Page 68 of 91

@ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE JULY 2023 69 the Kentucky Derby is full of dreams, hopes, smiles, laughter, tears of joy, and so much more. And in two minutes, all those dreams and hopes are either realized or dashed. At the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Hot Rod Charlie broke well in a full field of 20 horses. Medina Spirit took the lead. Mandaloun sat second for most of the race. Charlie was laying fifth throughout, but was in a good position. When they turned for home, Charlie turned it on and loomed up into third with Essential Quality fourth on the outside. As the leaders got closer to the wire, the distance between the four horses lessened, each horse looking like he had a shot to win. e finish saw Medina Spirit cross the line first, with Mandaloun second, Hot Rod Charlie third, Essential Quality fourth. at same year, Charlie skipped the Preakness and ran a dynamite second in the Belmont. He went on to win the Pennsylvania Derby, finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, and a hair-pulling second to Express Train at Santa Anita in the San Antonio Stakes. In 2022, he won the Lukas Classic Stakes, beating Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. He then took his caravan across the globe to Dubai not once, but twice. Charlie won the 2022 Al Maktoum Challenge easily. Many of his crew went on the adventure, which was another thrill of a lifetime. He ran second in the 2022 Dubai World Cup — a $12 million race. Charlie's owners have a great love for their horse with a lot of heart that, at the end of his career, earned $5,676,720 in purse money. Today, Hot Rod Charlie is standing at stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan, a prominent stallion farm. For the expanded version of this article, please visit ranchandcoast.com/hot-rod-charlie. Glenna Helm live in Palm Desert and spend their summers in Del Mar. Five couples from their country club jumped on board with this new colt who needed a name. Since Mitole was a sprinter, they thought their horse might share his speed. Hence, the name Hot Rod Charlie was chosen. A second partner who bought into Hot Rod Charlie was Bill Strauss, brother to Jeffrey Strauss, the master chef and owner of Pamplemousse Grille. No strangers to racing and owning horses, the Strauss brothers have had some excitement in their past endeavors, but nothing like the excitement that was to come. e third partner was Boat Racing LLC, a group of young men led by Patrick O'Neill, nephew of Doug O'Neill. is group of five were fraternity brothers of eta Delta Chi at Brown University and teammates on the football team. ey went to the races together and, with Uncle Doug being a horse trainer and in the industry for decades, they thought they would take a gamble and get into the game. Doug said Charlie was a gifted athlete from the beginning, but it took a little while for him to mature mentally. Charlie covered a lot of ground with his long reaching stride. Once Charlie got the hang of winning, he became very competitive. He was a good athlete in the sense that he would lay down and rest while in his stall, and he loved to eat and train. He was a good feeling colt and his groom Eddie got along with Charlie beautifully. is relationship between groom and horse becomes a strong bond of understanding each other's likes and dislikes and, for this intelligent breed of horse, how to behave, communicate, and allow the human to take care of you. After Charlie's first win, his next race was a huge step up in the 2020 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky. Charlie, being only a maiden race winner, was a major long shot. Charlie went off at 94 to 1 and finished second! e excitement was off the charts with second prize money in a $2,000,000 race featuring a take- home of $340,000, which more than paid for Charlie in just race number five of his career. Horses in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile who finish well are generally pointed to the Kentucky Derby — a once in a lifetime achievement. e Derby is one of the most prestigious races of all time. e week leading up to

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