Updated on 09/17/2011 9:44AM

Delahoussaye retires from riding


ARCADIA, Calif. - Eddie Delahoussaye, a Hall of Fame jockey with more than 6,000 victories and one of only four riders to win successive Kentucky Derbies, said late Monday that he was retiring because of injuries suffered in a race last August at Del Mar.

Delahoussaye, 51, has not ridden since Aug. 30, when a frightening tumble left him with a slight fracture in his upper back and severe neck pain. He has undergone extensive physical therapy, but progress has been slow. Delahoussaye visited both a physical therapist and a neurologist Monday afternoon in Los Angeles and then said he would no longer ride.

On Sunday, Delahoussaye said he would not return to his riding career if the doctors did not give him a clean bill of health. "I want to ride, but I don't want to keep doing physical therapy," he said. "If they tell me I need more physical therapy, that's it. I've had some spasms in my neck at night when I'm sleeping. It doesn't happen during the day, just at night."

Even before his fall at Del Mar, he had hinted to friends that he was thinking of retiring. But Delahoussaye wanted to go out on his own schedule, not one forced upon him.

Delahoussaye faced his decision with good humor, joking that he "might come out of retirement when I'm 60."

"I've gained weight with the physical therapy, all through my chest," he said. "Juanita" - his wife - "says she's married now to a man, instead of a coat hanger."

Delahoussaye, a native of Louisiana, has been based in Southern California for nearly 25 years. He has won 6,384 races, and his mounts have earned $195,881,170, in a 35-year career. Best known for his uncanny knack of bringing horses from well off the pace, Delahoussaye won the Kentucky Derby in1982 with Gato Del Sol and 1983 with Sunny's Halo. He also won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with Risen Star in 1988, and was the regular rider for 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, who won that year's Santa Anita Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders' Cup Classic.

Delahoussaye owns six other victories in Breeders' Cup races. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 and was presented with the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1981. He was the nation's winningest rider in 1978, with 384 victories.