Chantal Sutherland’s Biography
Chantal Sutherland was born on February 23, 1976 in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is a Canadian model and jockey in North American Thoroughbred horse racing. She is referred as the Danica Patrick of horse racing.
She grew up in the Toronto, Ontario area where her father owned a horse farm. As a young girl she played competitive field hockey and was invited to try out for Canada’s junior World Cup team. She rode horses in equestrian events but after graduating from York University with a degree in communications and psychology, decided to explore the opportunity to ride Thoroughbreds in flat racing.
On October 9, 2000 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Sutherland won her first career race. The following year she got her big break when was voted the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top apprentice jockey, repeating in 2002 when she was one of Canada’s highest-paid female athletes, earning $5.7 million in purses in eight months. She finished third in the Woodbine standings that year with 124 victories with earnings of $5,751,417. She finished 31st in the national earnings title in that same year as she earned $5,968,460 with victories of 136 and had 754 mounts. She remained in Canada until the end of 2004. In the winter of 2004, she rode the winter months in the Maryland Circuit riding at Laurel Park Racecourse.
In 2005, she went to race in Florida and New York where jockeys Angel Cordero, Jr., Shane Sellers and Edgar Prado helped her hone her skills. She rode the winter meet at Aqueduct in 2007. Her highlight in New York, was a victory in the Tom Fool Handicap with Smokume at Belmont Park. During her time in New York, she rode for hall of fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens and for trainer Todd Pletcher. In 2006, partnered Gigawatt to a win in the Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap.
Sutherland quickly became a top rider in Canada, but as nice as her success was, she realized that riding in Canada was never going to land her in the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders Cup races, Sutherland knew Santa Anita Park for the winter meet, Woodbine for the summer meet is the place that high caliber jockeys call home which is why this year she has relocated to Southern California.
In 2007, she returned to Canada to ride at Woodbine after a 2 year stint in the New York and Florida circuit. She finished seventh in the Woodbine standings with 69 victories out of 572 mounts with earnings of $3,246,387. She finished 77th in the national earnings title that same year with 79 victories out of 668 mounts with earnings of $3,480,229.
From December 2007 to April 2008, Sutherland competed at Santa Anita Park in California, where she impressed racing fans and insiders. Retired U.S. Racing Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens said: "She has become the queen of the longshots. She has won several photos against top jockeys, which shows she is a strong finisher." Allen Gutterman, Santa Anita racetrack’s head of marketing, said Sutherland "could become the best female jockey since Julie Krone." Sutherland returned to Toronto for the 2008 racing season where on August 9 she rode five winners on a single race card. In the summer of 2008, she rode future Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to stakes wins in the Silver Deputy, Swynford and Grey stakes at Woodbine and finished 12th aboard Mine That Bird in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. She also rode Van Lear Rose in that Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as she finished sixth in the same year. She rode the 2008 Oak Tree meeting as she left Canada in October 2008 to ride in California as it lasted for 6 months out in California as she rode also the 2008 Hollywood Park fall meeting and the 2009 Santa Anita meeting.
In 2008, she finished seventh in the Woodbine standings with earnings of $4,947,630 and had 89 victories out of 590 mounts. Before she left to California in October 2008, she had left Canada finishing third in the Woodbine standings but she finished seventh at the end. She finished 38th in the national earnings title with earnings of $5,937,965 and with victories of 116 out of 832 mounts.
She got publicity when she was one of the jockeys featured on the reality tv show Jockeys on Animal Planet. It lasted for two seasons. During the show, the show talked about her relationship with hall of fame jockey Mike E. Smith whom they were dating for three to four years. They broke up in 2009 according to Sutherland in interviews and on a talk shows in Canada, in articles as well and on the last episode on season two of Jockeys. However, Sutherland did reveal as of April 2, 2010 that they’re back together and they’re engaged when she was being interviewed on HRTV.
In July 2010, Sutherland revealed in an article by thestar.com that her and Smith called off the engagement in June 2010 just two weeks before the Queen’s Plate in July. Sutherland finished second in the 2009 Woodbine jockey standings with earnings of $7,588,868 with victories of 139 and had 981 mounts. She finished in 2009 22nd in the national earnings title as she earned $7,451,964 with victories of 159 and had 1,131 mounts. She was a finalist for the 2009 Sovereign Awards for Outstanding Jockey of the year.
She is currently riding the 2010 Woodbine meet up in Canada as she had some success while staying in California in the winter of 2010 with two Grade 2′s to her resume which were the Santa Ynez Stakes and the El Encino Stakes. She currently rides the winter at Santa Anita and the rest of the year at Woodbine.