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RIDING LEGEND DELAHOUSSAYE TO BE HONORED WITH GRADE III ‘EDDIE D. STAKES,’ TO BE RUN SEPT. 28
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 21, 2012)—Eddie Delahoussaye, widely regarded as one of the greatest riders of all time, will be so recognized on opening day of Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet on Sept. 28, as The Great Race Place will card the inaugural Grade III “Eddie D. Stakes” for 3-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs down the Camino Real Turf Course.
A revered member of racing’s Hall of Fame and a two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby, Delahoussaye won the race’s precursor, the Morvich Stakes, in 1984 with the Eddie Gregson-conditioned Tsunami Slew.
“This is a great honor,” said Delahoussaye, who resides in Arcadia with his wife, Juanita, daughter Mandy, son Loren and sister Rose Ann, and is active in the Thoroughbred business as a racing and sales consultant. “My family is very excited about it and I am too. This race has a rich history and I want to thank Santa Anita for thinking of me.
“Juanita and I plan to be there on opening day and it should be a lot of fun. I won a lot of races coming down that hill, but I never thought they’d name a race for me. We love going to the races at Santa Anita and we’re here all the time. There’s so much history here and it’s the most beautiful track in the country. I just hope I can pick the winner!”
A native of New Iberia, Louisiana, Delahoussaye, 60, commanded the respect of fans and horsemen alike as a plain-spoken, down-to-earth athlete who remained unchanged throughout his spectacular career which began in 1968 and ended, due to injury, in January, 2003.
“He was one of the ones, no question about it,” said Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. “He was a tremendous judge of pace and I remember (Bill) Shoemaker saying that he’d never seen a jock that could wait as long as Eddie D. We won some big races together, including the Santa Anita Handicap with Mr. Purple in 1996, and he won five derbies for us with Olympio.
“But as great a rider as he was, he’s an even better person. Eddie was always a guy you could approach and he’d give you his honest opinion. As a trainer, I can’t tell you how important that is. To this day, he’s a consummate gentleman in every respect. He and Juanita are just first class people and I think it’s great that Santa Anita is going to recognize him with this race. It’s just too bad he can’t ride it.”
In one of racing’s most unforgettable nationally televised moments, Delahoussaye and McAnally were on opposite ends of an excruciatingly close photo finish in the inaugural Arlington Million in 1981, as Delahoussaye rode the John Sullivan-trained longshot The Bart and Shoemaker rode the legendary John Henry for McAnally.
“That first year in Chicago, we weren’t used to where the finish line was,” said McAnally. “I was sitting with (owners) Sam and Dorothy Rubin and we really didn’t know who won. I asked Sam ‘Would you take a dead heat?’ And he said ‘No, we either win it or we lose it.’ As it turned out, Shoe had John’s head down right on the wire and the other horse’s head was up. It was unbelievable.”
In addition to his two Kentucky Derby wins, Delahoussaye won the Preakness Stakes once and the Belmont twice. He also won seven Breeders’ Cup races, including the 1992 Classic with A.P. Indy, who he considers the best horse he ever rode.
America’s leading rider in 1978 with 384 wins, Delahoussaye amassed a total of 6,384 career victories and won riding titles at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Keeneland, Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.
In addition to the inaugural “Eddie D. Stakes,” Santa Anita will be renaming a number of other stakes to be run at the 2012 Autumn Meet.
For season box information or to make dining and/or seating reservations for the upcoming Autumn Meet, fans are encouraged to visit www.santaanita.com or to call (626) 574-RACE.