Unbeknownst to her connections when they visited the entry box last week, Charismata (Jack’s Little Girl, by Broad Brush) entered a special race yesterday. Of course, the reason the race was so special had nothing to do with what was printed in the condition book.
It was one of two races that Matt Dinerman was calling at Emerald yesterday. He had done plenty of practice calls, but it was his first time calling races live on the air. He called the fifth and the sixth; Charismata raced in the sixth.
As Matt was taking his first big foray into calling the races, four-year-old Charismata was looking for her time and place to step forward again.
She had started her career on fire. In August of 2013, she won at first asking at Emerald Downs, in a field that included fellow Curlin baby Shesacurlinmytoes. Next out she placed third behind Chu and You in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, an open stakes at Emerald for juvenile fillies.
She never won at three, but she was quite consistent through last summer at Emerald Downs. In six starts against allowance and allowance-optional company, she hit the board five times. She hit the road over the Emerald off-season, running for the same owners but shifting from the barn of Doris Harwood to that of Frank Lucarelli. She did not fire in her allowance try over the Golden Gate Tapeta, and though her outing at Turf Paradise was slightly better, she still dropped out of touch from the main pack late.
She needed either a class break or a return to Emerald Downs. This spring, she got both. On April 18, opening day of the Emerald meet, Charismata appeared again for her old barn and dropped into $25,000-$22,500 company. This was her first race in for a tag, and a five and a half furlong dash on the dirt. Her only win to date had spanned that same five and a half furlong distance. The two-month lay proved to be too much for her. She stalked early, but faded out of contention. Charismata crossed the wire sixth of seven that day.
Charismata tried again on May 9 at Emerald. She stretched back out to six furlongs for that start, and dropped into $12,500 claiming company. Despite dropping to the lowest level of her career, she was sent off Saturday as just the fourth choice among six in the field.
Charismata broke inwardly, but rider Francisco Duran got her straightened out and on the lead early. K K’s Wonderwoman on the inside and favoured Platinum Kisses on the outside soon joined her, and the three set an honest early pace. Coming around the far turn, Platinum Kisses still had her head in front, but only Charismata was still going with her. She saved ground on the far turn, and had stuck her head in front by the three-sixteenths pole. Charismata edged clear by the furlong pole, and went on to win by two and a half lengths over Platinum Kisses.
And, Matt called it perfectly. He described the action clearly, and kept the call moving. He is exactly the kind of race caller I enjoy listening to: one who follows and elucidates the race without injecting drama. The horses themselves provide all the excitement we need, and I believe a caller should clarify, not force, the experience of the race. Matt did that yesterday.
After this race, I hope to see two things again soon: Charismata in the winners’ circle, and Matt in the announcing booth.