Hot Rod Charlie, the Grade 1 winner and earner of over $5.6 million on the racetrack, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Shadai Farm in Japan for the 2023 breeding season. I’ll miss watching him race. He showed up to every race and gave it his all, often battling down the home stretch to the wire, making him a fan favorite.
“He has that blue-collar, gutsy, competitive nature,” Trainer Doug O’Neill stated of the horse his owners call Chuck. “He’s got gate speed and stamina, and he shows up every time.”
“He was a spirited horse that wouldn’t turn down a challenge anywhere,” co-owner Greg Helm said. “He always fought to the bitter end. Not always finishing first, but he was sure up there in contention in most every race.”
“It’s been incredible. I can’t even put into words the experience we’re having,” noted Patrick O’Neill, who with his buds race as Boat Racing, and own Hot Rod Charlie with William Strauss, Roadrunner Racing, and Gainesway Stable. “It’s so cool to be able to share this with family and my best friends in the world. It’s been a remarkable journey; crazy how one horse can bring so many people together.”
Running 19 times, he finished his career with five wins, five seconds and four thirds. Some highlights of his career include running second in the 2020 BC Juvenile at Keeneland, third (and then second) behind Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Belmont stakes, won the Pennsylvania Derby (2021), and second in the Dubai World Cup (2022). Perhaps we were lucky that he was wasn’t more successful — Many of the horses that beat Hot Rod Charlie have already been retired.
At the end of his 3-year-old season in 2021, he was honored with the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, an annual prize that recognizes a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing
Not only did Hot Rod Charlie bring joy to his owners, but he also helped fund research into melanoma. A portion of his winnings were donated to the Melanoma Research Alliance in memory of Doug and Dennis
Not only has Hot Rod Charlie brought joy to his owners, a portion of Hot Rod Charlie’s winnings were donated to the Melanoma Research Alliance, as Doug and Dennis O’Neil’s two older brothers who died from melanomas. Dennis is also a cancer survivor.Hot Rod Charlie will leave for Japan after clearing quarantine requirements. He will stand at stud for ¥2 million ($15,162).