10/21/2012 5:39PM

Woodbine: Sutherland abruptly calls it quits as jockey

Michael Burns
Chantal Sutherland, shown at Woodbine in November 2009, rode for the last time on Sunday in the Bunty Lawless Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario— Chantal Sutherland, who recorded her first career win at Woodbine on Oct. 9, 2000, was back here Sunday afternoon for what she says will be the final ride of her career.

The 36-year-old Sutherland, born in Winnipeg, guided Crushin Hard to a seventh-place finish in the $125,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes for her father, Hugh Sutherland.

“Woodbine has been an amazing place for me,” said Sutherland. “This is where I learned how to ride, and made me the rider that I am, to be able to go and compete in other places.”

Crushin Hard was the 7,350th career mount for Sutherland and she compiled a record of 931 wins, 930 seconds,   and 987 thirds for purses of almost $47.3 million (U.S.).

“This was in my mind a little while ago,” said Sutherland, of her plan to retire from the saddle. “It just starts to happen.

“My life changed when I got married. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it is a lot of hard work.”

Sutherland, who married Dan Kruse this past spring,  will reside in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“I’ll take it easy, for a couple of months,” said Sutherland. “I have lots of plans, lots of cool ideas.”

While Sutherland acknowledged that those plans could involve horse racing, possibly in tandem with some form of media, she did not offer specifics.

Meanwhile, Sutherland’s 71 stakes winners have included 21 graded stakes, five of which she won aboard Game On Dude including the Grade 1 Hollywood Cup, Grade 1 Goodwood, and Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap.

Sutherland also finished second aboard Game On Dude in last year’s Breeders Cup, and was looking forward to riding him back in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

But, after Sutherland finished second with Game On Dude in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic, trainer Bob Baffert announced that she would be replaced by Rafael Bejarano.

Sutherland, who was the Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s outstanding apprentice in both 2001 and 2002, moved to the New York circuit in 2005 and returned there the following year after beginning the year at Gulfstream Park.

Back at Woodbine in 2007, Sutherland rode 69 winners and, after riding through the winter in California, returned here and had her best season to date as a journeyman with 89 wins.

Sutherland would eclipse those totals with 139 wins here in 2009 and 136 winners in 2010 while continuing to spend the winters riding on the West Coast.

Following the end of the 2010 Woodbine meeting Sutherland made the move full-time to California and became a regular on the circuit there before coming back for what currently stands as her last ride.

In addition to her stints at numerous tracks in the United States, Sutherland competed in jockey championships in Dubai, England,  and Hong Kong.