TORONTO, ONTARIO, – Jockey Chantal Sutherland has called it a career.
The 36-year-old Winnipeg native announced her retirement Sunday after guiding Crushin Hard to a seventh-place finish in the $126,200 Bunty Lawless Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.
“I love Woodbine, I love riding here,” said Sutherland. “It’s nice that I could end it here, where it all started for me.”
Sutherland left Woodbine for Santa Anita in 2011 but wanted to return to Canada for her final mount aboard a horse owned, in part, by her father Hugh Sutherland.
Sutherland admitted it was difficult walking off the track as a jockey for the last time.
“It’s a very emotional experience,” said Sutherland. “It’s sad, but I feel good about the decision and the timing is right for me.
“I hope to be remembered as a very good jockey.”
Sutherland retires with a record of 931 wins, including 71 stakes scores from 7,350 mounts.
“Horse racing has been my life for the past 14 years,” Sutherland said in a statement on her website. “I’ve reached many of the goals that I set for myself.
“I’ve lived out many of the dreams I had as a little girl, back when I was riding my pony, mucking stalls, feeding cows, aspiring to finally become a professional jockey and racing in stakes races on a worldwide stage. I’m so very blessed and grateful of the life that I have lived and career that I’ve had.”
In 2011, Sutherland became the first female jockey to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, doing so aboard multiple-graded stakes winner Game On Dude.
“This past year or so has been so amazing it’s actually overwhelming having to put it to words,” she said. “I crossed paths with a horse that happened to change my life.
“That horse is named Game On Dude and what a horse! He’s a soldier. Together we travelled the world. We won the Santa Anita Big Cap, Goodwood, almost won the Breeder’s Cup Classic; we won the San Antonio, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Californian. We travelled to Dubai and raced in the world’s richest race, the Dubai Duty Free World Cup.”
In 2001, Sutherland captured 44 wins at Woodbine and finished in the money 145 times en route to receiving a Sovereign Award as Canada’s top apprentice rider.
The following season she had 124 wins in 724 mounts to earn a second straight Sovereign as Canada’s top apprentice.
Sutherland rode in New York and Florida in 2005 for several high-profile trainers, including Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens and Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher but returned to Woodbine in 2007, winning 69 races.
In 2008, Sutherland was featured prominently in the reality series ‘Jockeys,’ and won 89 races at Woodbine to rank seventh overall. She also rode champion Mine That Bird, upset winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby, to three added-money scores (Grey, Silver Deputy and Swynford).
In 2009, Sutherland was a Sovereign Award finalist as Canada’s top rider after finishing second at Woodbine, with a career-best 139 wins and 12 local stakes wins along with over $7.5-million in earnings.
She registered 136 victories in 2010, including 18 stakes, and was a Sovereign Award finalist again.
Game On Dude took Sutherland to new heights in 2011 with Grade 1 wins in the Santa Anita Handicap and Goodwood, as well as a second-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In 2012, she continued her winning ways with Game On Dude, taking the Grade 2 San Antonio at Santa Anita as well as the Grade 2 Californian and Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. Fittingly, Sutherland’s final stakes score came July 29 at Woodbine in the Wonder Where Stakes aboard Awesome Fire, a Canadian-bred filly owned by her brother, Hugh Sutherland.
Sutherland also graduated from York University in Communications and Psychology and has modelled and appeared in a 2004 TV commercial for Esquire watches and 2006 edition of Vogue magazine. Sutherland was selected as one of ‘People Magazine’s Top 100 Most Beautiful People’ in 2006 and appeared alongside Dustin Hoffman in the HBO racing series, “Luck.”
Sutherland’s final win came aboard Castletown on Sept. 3 at Del Mar Racetrack in California.