Welcome back to the Twelve Days of Curlin Babies: a look back on twelve races during 2015 that stand out. Among hundreds of races by Curlin’s progeny through the course of the year, they are the ones I keep returning to in my head, the ones that I am always ready and excited to discuss.
#12: Theogony wins the Belle Mahone Stakes
#11: Stellar Wind and Curalina finish 2-3 in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff
#10: Jess’s Dream is a reality!
#9: Danette graduates — finally!
#8: Copperplate finds his place
#7: Curalina wins the Acorn…right in front of me
#6: Union Jackson breaks his maiden
#5: Charismata helps introduce a new voice to Emerald Downs
Charismata (Jack’s Little Girl, by Broad Brush) was a familiar face at Emerald Downs by the time 2015 rolled around. She broke her maiden there first out at age two, and checked in third behind Chu and You in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes next out. She only ran those two times her two-year-old year.
At three, Charismata returned to her home track.
She ran seven times, with six of those starts coming at Emerald Downs. In five of those tries in Washington, she finished in the money. A November try at Golden Gate, her final start of the year, suggested that Tapeta may not be her preferred surface.
The daughter of Curlin ventured further south to kick off her four-year-old year. She finished fifth in an allowance at Turf Paradise in February, her first start off the winter break. After that, she returned to her home course, and got a bit of a class break. She dropped in for a tag for the first time, trying $25,000 N2L company at Emerald. Even then, she struggled, fading to sixth in a field of seven.
On Saturday, May 9, Charismata returned in the 6th race at Emerald, a $12,500 claiming race for non-winners of two lifetime. That was one of two races that Matt Dinerman called that day. A knowledgeable and friendly mainstay on horse racing Twitter, Matt was also an aspiring race caller. That day, during the fifth and sixth races, he called for a live audience for the first time.
In just his second race behind the mike, Matt got to tell an exciting chapter of Charismata’s story.
Though Charismata broke a bit inwardly, she came out of the gate fast, and briefly took the lead. Once the rest of the field got into stride, though, K K’s Wonderwoman assumed the lead down the rail. Favoured Platinum Kisses, to Charismata’s outside, poked her head past the daughter of Curlin as well.
Charismata was not deterred. She stayed with the favourite, and moved in tandem with her to overtake K K’s Wonderwoman on the turn. Entering the stretch, Charismata and Platinum Kisses were on even terms.
Passing the three-sixteenths pole, Charismata got her head in front. This time, the favourite tried to go with her, but could not find enough. Approaching the furlong pole, Charismata was a length in front. No one had an answer. She widened that margin to two and a half by the time the field hit the wire.
Since then, Charismata has only raced once. She was claimed out of that win, and her new connections got ambitious. Charismata leapt forward from that win to a start in the Washington State Legislators’ Handicap. She was a few lengths off the pace early, near the back of the pack, and finished a well-beaten seventh as the longest shot on the board. Charismata has returned to neither the worktab nor the starting gate since that race, and only time will tell what her five-year-old year will hold.
Matt’s call of Charismata’s win came out confident and strong. Like Charismata, he took an ambitious step forward after that race — and that step worked out beautifully for racing fans. Later that month, Emerald Downs named him their track announcer. He has not called any more Curlin babies to victory yet, since Packy’s Out did not find the winners’ circle in six starts this year. Still, both his enthusiasm and his clear calling style have made Emerald a joy to follow…and he has twice called home a colt with quite the presidential blaze.