08/23/2002 12:00AM

200th local stakes win in sight, Loseth reflects on his success


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Chris Loseth and Hastings Park were made for each other. Loseth, who has an excellent chance of notching his 200th Hastings stakes win on Sunday, is the perfect rider for the just-over-five-furlong oval.

In order to be successful riding at a smaller track, a jockey needs to be aggressive, and Loseth has been riding that way since he got started in 1974. He's been the leading rider at Hastings Park eight times and is the all-time leader in wins here with 2,671 going into the weekend. His 199 stakes wins also tops the all-time list at Hastings.

Loseth started his career in 1974 but only rode about 30 horses that year. He was the second-leading rider here in 1975 and won his first jockeys' title while still an apprentice in 1976. Loseth's mounts have won over $30 million - and at 48 he's not planning to retire any time soon.

Loseth credits his physical stature for his longevity, and his aggressiveness for a lot of his success.

"I think that I have the perfect body for a jockey," he said. "I don't have any trouble keeping my weight down and I've been pretty lucky at avoiding a serious injury. And I don't care if you ride on a mile track or a smaller one like Hastings. You have to be aggressive. Some people have criticized me for being too aggressive, but I know I've won a lot more races than I've lost by riding that way. Especially at Hastings, where because of the tight turns position is critical."

Hard work also has had a lot to do with his success. He still gallops about 12 horses a day for trainer Steve Henson.

Loseth has won all of the major races at Hastings and he's very proud of his two wins in the Longacres Mile, with Travelling Victor and Kid Katabatic.

Loseth is thankful for what horse racing has done for him and he's tried to give something back. He's been president of the Jockeys' Guild of Canada for the last five years and last year earned the Avelino Gomez award for his contributions to horse racing in Canada.

"I'm very proud of that award," said Loseth. "And I was the first rider to win the Sovereign Award as both an apprentice and journeyman. Mickey Walls is the only other rider that's done that."

Loseth enjoys a good relationship with his agent of 11 years, Herb Ollive.

"He's pretty easy to hustle for because he's so personable and works so hard, said Ollive, who figures he'll be Loseth's agent until he retires. "He once told me that if he had any brains he would fire me. I told him I guess that means I'm your agent for life."

Loseth will be odds-on to notch his 200th stakes win at Hastings when he rides Grey Tobe Free in the Senate Appointee in the first race Sunday. With Queen of My Nights looking like the only speed in the race, Loseth figures to send Grey Tobe Free from the rail.

"I'm not making any plans," he said. "She usually does what she wants to, and if she wants to go we'll go."

Henson, who trains horses for Loseth's mother-in-law, Lola McCarthy, is hoping that Loseth will win his 200th on Shesagoldmine, who is making her debut in the Lassie Stakes Sunday. Henson and Loseth have teamed up to win stakes races with first-time starters in the past and they both think that Shesagoldmine has a realistic chance Sunday.

"She's the real deal," said Henson. "She's about as good as I've ever trained."

That's saying a lot when you consider Lasting Code is one Henson's recent trainees.