It was almost 1:02 pm when the horses crossed the finish line in Belmont’s first race on Saturday and the phones began to ring. The partners of Fantasy Lane Stable waited a long time for this moment and knew exactly what to say after answering the calls. Of all the responses that they had mentally prepared to give, the one that they most hoped to deliver was both the shortest and most positive.
“He’s back.” Two words which conveyed the collective culmination of 490 days of waiting, hoping and validation.
“He” is UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN, or Charly as his owners affectionately call him, a four-year-old Limehouse colt out of the Langfuhr mare La Illuminada. When last seen he finished fifth in the 2010 Belmont Stakes behind DROSSELMEYER. After rounding the clubhouse turn in that race, jockey Rajiv Maragh’s saddle slipped, causing an eight-pound weight underneath the saddle to dislodge and fall to the ground. Maragh struggled to control Charly the remainder of the race, and ultimately Charly was disqualified to last place for not carrying the full 126 pounds for the entire race.
After winning his maiden race and the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs by a total of 15 lengths, Fantasy Lane received numerous offers to purchase Charly and ultimately turned them down. Even before his first race, Alan Seewald, Charly’s trainer and lifelong friend of Fantasy Lane’s president and managing partner Bob Hutt, told Hutt that Charly could be the best horse that Fantasy Lane ever owned. However, just one month after finishing fifth in the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby, and days before he would try to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby racing in the Lexington Stakes, Seewald passed away at his home in New Jersey at the age of 62.