By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: The first time Jason Beck met Chris Loseth was prior to the 2009 BC Sports Hall of Fame Dinner when Chris was being inducted as only the second jockey in the 53-year history of the shrine. The first had been Hedley Woodhouse in 1979.
As Curator of the Hall of Fame, Beck interviews the inductees for articles that stand forever in the archives.
“I found Chris to be so humble with a story that was unbelievably fascinating,” Beck says. “When he was barely two years old his parents propped him up on a horse named Blaze and snapped a photo. Right from the beginning there were always horses in his life.”
Today as guest decorators, they meet again.
To quote Beck in 2009: “When Loseth was 10 years old, after he and his younger brother Jim had grown adept at catching packhorses roaming free on the open ranges near their Fort Nelson home, Chris flipped across an article in the weekly edition of the Winnipeg Free Press describing Johnny Longden’s 6,000th win at Vancouver Exhibition Park. The piece made such an impression on Loseth his mind was made up to become a jockey just like Longden.
“After graduating from high school in Grand Forks in 1972, Chris came to Vancouver and worked under trainer Alan May for two years, starting as a hot-walker for $60 a week and living in a tack room at the racetrack. Loseth began racing as an apprentice jockey in 1974 and two years later he won his first Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding apprentice rider. His second Sovereign, this time as Canada’s outstanding jockey, came in 1984. He had grabbed the reins of success and let it ride.”
Loseth was the leading jockey at Hastings eight times and remains the all-time leading rider with 3,668 career wins. In l992 he was inducted into the BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame and in 2007 the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Then came induction into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
That evening will no doubt be fondly remembered in the winner’s circle today when the two are together again for the first time in a decade.