Hot Rod Charlie
OwnerBoat Racing LLC -Gainesway Stable - Roadrunner Racing & William Strauss
TrainerDoug F. O'Neill
Jockey (from last start)
BreederEdward A. Cox Jr.
At last year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Hot Rod Charlie arrived as a little-known newbie and left as a potential star. This year, he is a proven commodity as one of the best of his generation.
In the 2020 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1), Hot Rod Charlie was a 94-1 longshot, but was a game runner-up when finishing less than a length behind Essential Quality. Hot Rod Charlie had gone winless in his first three career starts, but his talent really came through with some strategic adjustments.
“We had tried different things with him, but things didn't click until his fourth start where he went two turns on the dirt with blinkers on (and he won),” said Bill Strauss, part of the colt’s large ownership group. “The light bulb went on.”
Hot Rod Charlie solidified his status as a Triple Crown contender by winning the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans in March. He subsequently finished third in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and second in the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1). He crossed the wire first in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) in July, but was disqualified and placed seventh because of interference in the stretch.
As a youngster, Hot Rod Charlie brimmed with enthusiasm after being purchased for $17,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton February mixed sale in Lexington, Kentucky. He was sent to Ben Berger’s nearby Woodstock Farm to mature. (Coincidentally, 2021 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starter Rombauer was among Hot Rod Charlie’s barn and pasture mates at Woodstock Farm.)
“He was a high energy kind of colt and wanted to do things his way,” Berger said in a May 27 Thoroughbred Daily News article. “He wanted to be first in and first out, and if he wasn't he got a little bit excitable. In sales prep it all came together a bit … and he settled and showed himself nicely.”
Returned to the same auction house for the October yearling sale, Hot Rod Charlie was sold to trainer Doug O’Neill’s brother Dennis for $110,000.
Hot Rod Charlie’s sire is 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow. His dam Indian Miss also produced 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner and Eclipse Award champion sprinter Mitole.
|September 25, 2021||Pennsylvania Derby||PARX RACING||1||1|
|July 17, 2021||TVG.com Haskell S.||MONMOUTH PARK||1||1|
|June 05, 2021||Belmont S. Presented by NYRA Bets||BELMONT PARK||1||2|
|May 01, 2021||Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1||3|
|March 20, 2021||Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby||FAIR GROUNDS||2||1|
|January 30, 2021||Robert B. Lewis S.||SANTA ANITA PARK||3||3|
- October 12, 2021
Benefiting from Grade 1 victories in the Belmont Stakes and the Runhappy Travers Stakes, Godolphin’s 3-year-old Essential Quality has finished No. 1 in the final voting of the 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
- September 29, 2021
Hot Rod Charlie delivered a career-best performance in the Pennsylvania Derby to earn his first Grade 1 win, $573,000 in purse earnings, and the best speed figures of his career for a 2 ¼-length win. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of this exciting 3-year-old racehorse.
- October 5, 2021
Godolphin’s Essential Quality moved back into first place by three votes over stablemate Knicks Go in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).