12/27/2012 2:57PM

2012 Year In Review: Q&A with Chantal Sutherland

Shigeki Kikkawa

One of the top newsmakers of 2012, the Sovereign Award-winning jockey appeared on the HBO series “Luck,” got married, rode Game On Dude to victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup, lost that mount after a defeat in the Pacific Classic, and retired in October with 931 career victories, including the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap with Game On Dude.

How would you describe this year for you? I’m happy I did well. I got back with my old agent, Tommy Ball, and got married to Dan [Kruse], got to travel to Dubai, won a race at Woodbine for my brother, had success with Game On Dude, and I’m happy that I was able to step away without any serious injuries. I had a couple of concussions during my career, but other than that, the worst thing I had was a broken fingertip. That’s the only bone I ever broke. And I got to finish riding on a horse for my father at Woodbine.

Did you want to finish in front of family at Woodbine? That was my plan. My family was happy with my career. But they are also happy I’m retired.

Were you getting pressure from them? Not pressure, because they’ve supported everything I’ve wanted to do. But being a jockey is physically and mentally demanding. You’re up at 4 o’clock in the morning and you keep going until 7 at night, every day. When you’re in it, you don’t notice how much you don’t see your family and friends. But I met someone like my husband and also realized how much I was not seeing my family, and realized it was time.

Were they happy you decided to retire? When I mentioned it to them, it was like they went, “Whew, thank God.” I would rarely see my sister, rarely see my cousins. Now I get to see everyone. I’m not complaining about what I did. Being a jockey was great. But when you’re in it, you don’t realize how much else you are missing. It’s nice to have weekends off.

Are you going to be able to spend time with them during the holidays? My dad has had a house in the Dominican Republic for eight years, and we’re going there for the first time early next year. My sister came here and visited, and I spent a week with her in Ottawa. My mom is coming to visit. We’re doing lots of family stuff.

Are you and Dan going to take a honeymoon? We went to Hawaii before our wedding, so that kind of counts. We’re also going skiing later this month, and we’re going to Las Vegas for his daughter’s 21st birthday.

You had great success with Game On Dude, but you were taken off him after the Pacific Classic and before he ran in the Awesome Again. What did that horse mean to you? He was one of my favorite horses. Riding him was the most amazing experience. Even though what happened with him was heartbreaking, I wouldn’t trade the experience. I was happy he came back and won the Native Diver with Mike [Smith] on him. He’s such a neat horse. He knows when he loses. He knows when he doesn’t go to the winner’s circle. He’ll go to the back of his stall and put his head down.

What’s next for you? I would really love to be on a talk show, either as a host or co-host. I’m going to take acting lessons. I have the time now.

Did working on “Luck” whet your appetite for acting? I loved it. It was fun, interesting. I loved working with the directors. Actors get to do all the fun things. You work for a few months, then get time off. It’s not like being a jockey.

How disappointing was the cancellation of “Luck”? That was a bummer. But if it hadn’t ended, I’m not sure my relationship with Dan would have progressed. I was introduced to him when I was doing the show. I was working until 6 or 7 at night, sometimes 9. I had no life when “Luck” was on. When it ended, I was able to see him more often.

There was a lot of speculation that you retired in part to start a family. True? Not really. Dan has two kids. I used to want kids, but now I’m not really sure. I’m going to be 37 in February, so I still have time, but right now, it’s not something I’m looking to do. When I did the reality show [“Jockeys,” on Animal Planet] with Mike, I wanted do to it. It was something I thought of as the next thing you do next. But I’m not at that place now. Every relationship is different.

Do you miss the track? I love horses, but being a jockey is really hard work. You wake up in the middle of the night – “Did I miss my alarm?” You’re always on edge. But I want really badly to do some hosting at the Kentucky Derby. I was told I need more experience as a commentator, so I’m going to work on that. And I’m still going to come to the races every now and again, and once in a while maybe even work a horse, just to feel it.

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Chantal Sutherland is the Jennifer Lopez of horse racing where Chantal is an okay rider and J.Lo isn't a that good of a singer but is able to put out good music. J.Lo was only able to have 4 #1's songs and sell like 30 million albums or something like that and that 70 million is combined with her singles and albums altogether. Chantal was only nationally known in racing for riding Game On Dude and for the magazines she was in. She only won 931 races and with earnings of $47,287,052. J.Lo was famous based on probably most likely for her movies before she went on to do music though some will argue that her dancing made her famous but technically her movies made J.Lo famous.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Couldn't even win 1,000 races and managed to get over 47 million in lifetime purses.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Chantal's best year in racing was in 2010 where made over $8,778,038 with 152 wins. Her best race she's ever won was the G1 Santa Anita Handicap as Chantal has only won 3 G1's all with Game on Dude. Jennifer Lopez's best selling album was in 2001 when her 2nd album J.Lo which sold over 8 million copies worldwide. Her best selling single was On The Floor which sold over 8.4 digital copies worldwide in 2011. J.Lo was seen more as a singles artist while Chantal is more of a Canadian rider which the majority of her earnings came from.
j b More than 1 year ago
Surprised that they didn't bring up the fact that she is an alcoholic and that is why she was forced into retirement. She got thrown off all her mounts at Woodbine for showing up to race with 3x the legal limit to drive a car.
Joel Whutisnamb More than 1 year ago
Please make this the last Chantel interview. TYVM!
Joel Whutisnamb More than 1 year ago
Please make this the last interview. Chantel is so full of it.
norm chin More than 1 year ago
she has no personality to do any hosting. Look back at her tv interviews. horrible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chantal is too pretty for the usual pontificators that hold on tight to their Derby jobs. Her rides on Game on Dude were helpful to alot of handicappers that could depend on her to place or win. I look forward to her becoming a commentator. Her insights will be no less valuable then Mr Stevens. Her inside knowledge will be helpful and interesting to all viewers. RD btr
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Glad she retired without serious injury. Very. Also grateful that I'll never see a rematch of that obscene "match race" with Mike Smith. Things don't get anymore depraved than that. I am still amazed that both people - for the sake of a lousy buck, or fan attendance, or any of the bogus and insulting reasons offered - so casually allowed themselves to violate their own dignity. Comic relief was the horrible quality of the two horses that they ran in the race. (The rest of the horses probably flat-out refused to have anything to do with it.) It's a flat-out miracle that the track didn't try to get Brittany Spears as the supervising racing steward. ***** Now that things have returned to normal in the racing world, it's back to the midget tossing.
Bob Rose More than 1 year ago
Rock a bye baby...;)
Alfred Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
You got out at the right time. No serious injuries and you got to compete against the best in the world. Oh yeah it would have great to have more success but you gave it your all and achieved an awful lot. Not all jocks get to win the Derby and Breeder's Cup Classic but you achieved more than 90% of them.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
dan? seiously? come back to the track. we know baffert hurt you with the dude. get over it. california misses you.