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Oct 26, 2012

Chantal Sutherland retires from riding


Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Sunday marked the end of leading female jockey Chantal Sutherland's career as a thoroughbred rider. The 36-year-old announced her retirement from racing in a statement on her website.

"The moment has come where I have decided to announce my retirement from being a professional jockey," Sutherland said in the statement, "I almost can't believe it myself. I'm not sad, but rather looking at another opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life. Looking ahead, I'm excited about new challenges and new opportunities that life has in store for me.

"Horse racing has been my life for the past 14 years. 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."

Sutherland, who began her career at Woodbine, finished it there Sunday afternoon following a seventh-place finish aboard Crushin Hard in the Bunty Lawless Stakes behind repeat winner Pender Harbour.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sutherland won the Sovereign Award as Canada's leading apprentice jockey in both 2001 and 2002. Keeping Woodbine as her home base, she established herself as the top female jockey in North America when she rode in New York and Florida in 2005 for several leading trainers, such as Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens and Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.

In 2011, Sutherland moved to Southern California to ride at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. She became the regular rider of Game On Dude and won the Santa Anita Handicap that year with the gelding trained by Bob Baffert.

"Together we travelled the world," the statement continued. "We won the Santa Anita Big Cap, Goodwood, almost won the Breeders' 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."

Jockey and horse finished second in the Pacific Classic this August, but shortly after the race Baffert replaced Sutherland with Rafael Bejarano as Game On Dude's jockey.

Sutherland's final stakes victory came on July 29 at Woodbine in the Wonder Where Stakes aboard Awesome Fire and her last career win came with Castletown on Sept. 3 at Del Mar.

"So now, with the support of my husband, family, and friends I am ending one chapter in my life and starting a new one. I'm excited about my future and the challenges it will bring. I enjoy working hard and striving to achieve goals, so who knows; maybe you will see me pop up somewhere soon," the statement concludes.

Sutherland closes her career with 931 wins, 930 seconds and 987 thirds in 7,350 mounts, with earnings of $47,287,052.

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