Jockey Chris Antley leads Racing Hall of Fame class
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Chris Antley, the late jockey who twice won the Kentucky Derby, was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame on Monday with thoroughbreds Lava Man and Xtra Heat and trainer King Leatherbury. They will be inducted Aug. 7.
Antley, who died of a drug overdose in 2000, won the Derby in 1991 with Strike the Gold and in 1999 with Charismatic. In a career that spanned from 1983 until his death at 34, Antley won 3,480 races with purse earnings of $92,261,894.
He won 127 graded stakes races and 293 overall stakes and led North American riders with 469 wins in 1985. He also won the Preakness Stakes with Charismatic and ranked in the top 10 nationally in wins each year from 1984 through 1987.
On Halloween in 1987, Antley won nine races — four at Aqueduct, five at the Meadowlands. In 1989, he had a streak of 64 consecutive days with at least one win.
Antley’s career was interrupted by frequent battles with weight, alcohol and drugs. He lost his New York jockey’s license in 1988, when he tested positive for cocaine and marijuana. After entering drug rehab, he came back to win his first Kentucky Derby aboard Strike the Gold, then won the Derby and Preakness with Charismatic.
Antley might best be remembered for his reaction at the end of the 1999 Belmont Stakes, when Charismatic’s bid to win the Triple Crown ended with two broken bones in his left front leg. Antley sensed something was wrong as he neared the finish line, and Charismatic slowed as Lemon Drop Kid sped past to the victory. When Charismatic came to a stop, Antley jumped off and protected the injured leg until help arrived.
“I rode him just enough to hang onto third,” Antley said. “He was in a little bit of pain. He tried through that pain. He tried hard. He wasn’t able to give the people what they wanted, but these kinds of things happen. Hopefully, he’s OK.”
Leatherbury, 81, ranks fourth all time with 6,449 wins. He has won 52 training titles in Maryland (26 each at Pimlico and Laurel) and four at Delaware Park and has career purse earnings of $62,792,375. He also has finished in the top 10 nationally in wins 18 times and in earnings four times and has won 23 graded stakes races and 153 overall stakes.
In 1987, Leatherbury won the Grade 1 Hempstead Handicap with Catatonic and in 1994 won the Grade 1 Philip H. Iselin Handicap with Taking Risks. He also bred, owns and trains Ben’s Cat, a winner of $2.3 million. Ben’s Cat has won 22 stakes to date, including four graded events.
Lava Man had a career record of 17-8-5 from 47 starts with earnings of $5,268,706 and seven Grade 1 victories, more than any other California-bred in history. Lava Man won the Hollywood Gold Cup three straight times (2005-07), matching a feat Hall of Famer Native Diver accomplished from 1965 to 1967 and won the Santa Anita Handicap in 2006 and 2007.
Other significant wins included the Pacific Classic, Californian, Sunshine Millions Classic, Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap and Sunshine Millions Turf. His victory in the Whittingham in 2006 made Lava Man the first horse since Vanlandingham 21 years earlier to win a Grade 1 on both dirt and turf in the same year.
Xtra Heat, the Eclipse Award winner for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2001, was bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm and sold as a 2-year-old for $5,000 at Maryland’s Timonium sale to trainer John Salzman Sr. and partners Ken Taylor and Harry Deitchman. She had a career record of 26-5-2 from 35 starts and had earnings of $2,389,635. Xtra Heat won 25 stakes races, 10 of them graded events.