Indian Charlie euthanized at 16

Bob Baffert stood beside Indian Charlie with Larry Damore up in 1998, the year the horse won the Santa Anita Derby.
Bob Baffert stood beside Indian Charlie with Larry Damore up in 1998, the year the horse won the Santa Anita Derby. LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER

Top stallion Indian Charlie, sire of such champions as Uncle Mo, Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian, was euthanized Thursday morning at Hagyard Equine Medical Center at the age of 16.

The strong-bodied son of In Excess had been diagnosed recently with hemangiosarcoma, a rare, fast-growing cancer that caused his condition to deteriorate in the last two weeks. As the standard-bearer for Brereton and Libby Jones' Airdrie Stud roster, Indian Charlie was slated to command an advertised fee of $75,000 for the 2012 season.

"Losing Indian Charlie after a challenging battle ... has been a shock to us all. He was dearly loved by everyone that cared for him on a daily basis," Airdrie Farm said in a statement. "'Charlie' has been a shining star at Airdrie for many years now. His personality, toughness, and utter determination remained with him throughout treatment."

Trained by Bob Baffert and campaigned by Hal Earnhardt and John Gaines Racing, Indian Charlie made a big impression in his five career starts. The bay horse won the 1998 Grade I Santa Anita Derby and went to post as the favorite for that year's Kentucky Derby, only to finish third behind stablemate Real Quiet.

Retired months later with a leg injury, Indian Charlie would have a farther-reaching impact in the breeding shed. Out of the mare Soviet Sojourn, Indian Charlie has sired six champions and 65 stakes winners to date from 10 crops of racing age.

"He was like part of the family," said Ben Henley of Airdrie Stud.

Fittingly, Baffert conditioned Indian Charlie's leading money earner, Indian Blessing. The dark bay filly won 10 of 16 lifetime career starts, including the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to being named that year's champion 2-year-old filly.

Indian Blessing would come back to be named champion female sprinter in 2008 and concluded her career with five Grade I triumphs and a bankroll of $2,995,420.

Though his offspring were often known for their precocity, Indian Charlie's daughter Fleet Indian showed he could produce a horse that could get a classic distance. The champion older female of 2006 won the Grade I Beldame and Personal Ensign Stakes that season in addition to the Grade II Delaware Handicap before suffering a career-ending injury in that year's Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Fleet Indian was euthanized this October because of complications from colic.

Indian Charlie remained in the headlines over the past year thanks to his son Uncle Mo, the 2010 juvenile champion who will stand his first season in 2012 at Coolmore Stud. Other top runners by Indian Charlie include Grade I winner Pampered Princess as well as graded-stakes winners My Pal Charlie, Bwana Charlie, Two Trail Sioux, Conveyance and Indyanne.

Having stood at Airdrie since 2003 after beginning his career at Vinery, Indian Charlie has progeny earnings of $43,067,807.