By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: It had been 30 years since a jockey appeared at the podium during a BC Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony when Chris Loseth made Honoured Members status in May, 2009.
Up until then the only name listed under Horse Racing in the local Hall of Fame archives was that of the late Hedley Woodhouse, a colourful Vancouver-born rider who had mounts in the Kentucky Derby four times after launching his career in the late 1930s at Landsdowne Park in Richmond. Woodhouse won the New York state riding championship in 1953 and retired in 1971 after having won 2,642 races.
Chris Loseth was a teenager back then, working as a $60-a-week hot-walker under trainer Alan May at the Hastings oval known as Exhibition Park.
Not even Loseth himself could have imagined he’d one day be recognized among the greatest jockeys in the history of Canadian racing following a 30-year career that resulted in 3,668 trips to the winner’s circle and more than $32 million in purse earnings.
Along the way, Chris collected two Sovereign Awards as Canada’s Outstanding Apprentice Jockey (1976) and Outstanding Jockey (1984). He won the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award (2001) and chalked up an unprecedented eight Leading Jockey titles at Hastings.
His trophy case overflowed following victories in everything from the Canadian Derby, BC Derby (1996 & 1998), the BC Oaks five times and Longacres Mile in Seattle twice.
Then there was that memorable night of April 19, 1984 at Hastings when he wrote himself into the Guinness Book of World Records for most wins on a single racing card, urging home eight winners on a 10-race card.
Loseth retired in 2005 but his legacy continues with the naming of the Chris Loseth Handicap for 3-year-olds that is today’s full-field sixth race feature. He won’t require an escort to the winner’s circle as guest decorator. Suffice to say, it’s familiar territory.