Racing: American hero will be saved for stud

CHARISMATIC TRIED so hard to become the first United States Triple Crown winner in 21 years that he broke a leg doing it. "He gave us a lot, he gave America a lot," the colt's jockey, Chris Antley, said after the colt pulled up just past the finishing line, third to the outsider Lemon Drop Kid.

Charismatic was taken from the track in a van and returned to the stable of his trainer, D Wayne Lukas. His injury, a lateral fracture of the near-fore leg, is not life-threatening but will end his racing career.

"He's through as a race horse," Dr Larry Bramlage, of the New York Racing Association, said. "We expect him to be fine as a stallion." Bramlage said that the injury probably occurred "soon after the wire [finishing line]".

Charismatic's injury may have been the result of just what Lukas feared - the entry into the race of the filly Silverbulletday. She failed to last out the mile and a half trip, but she exhausted Charismatic who tried gallantly to catch her. In contrast to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, where Charismatic was able to stay out of the main body of runners and make late runs to victory, he continually chased after Silverbulletday.

Charismatic took the lead briefly at the turn, but the effort was too much and Lemon Drop Kid and Vision And Verse flew by him.

"It wasn't a killer pace but you just hate to go eyeball to eyeball early in the race," said Jerry Bailey, who was riding Silverbulletday. Scotty Schulhofer, the trainer of the Jose Santos-ridden Lemon Drop Kid, said: "Jose had him perfectly positioned and was able to take advantage."

But the winner became a second thought with Charismatic standing on the track, surrounded by veterinarians and track employees. "Our feelings are pretty low," said Bob Lewis, who with his wife, Beverly, owns the colt. "Our only concern right now is Charismatic. We hope to God he is going to be fine. We accepted the accolades in Louisville and Baltimore and today was just one of those things that happens."

BELMONT STAKES (1m4f): 1. LEMON DROP KID (J Santos); 2. Vision And Verse; 3. Charismatic. head, 11/2. 12 ran. (Trained: F Schulhofer). Pari-Mutuel (inc $2 stake): win 61.50; places (1 & 2) 26.00, 44.40; show (1,2&3) 10.60, 17.00, 3.60.