Page 6 - May 2019 Thoroughbred Highlight
P. 6

Constant returns to Woodbine for Skye
Growing up in Oak Bank, Manitoba with a mother who was a Jockey turned Trainer, it was foretold that Skye Chernetz would likely seek out a career in the industry as well.
In 1973 Skye’s Mum, Bonnie Eshelman, was the  rst female jockey to win a stakes race in Ontario as one of the  rst female jockeys in North America. Bonnie then began training horses in 1977.
After 18 years as a Jockey at Woodbine Constant
gave up riding in 2009 opting to pursue his passion for a different sport, Speed Skating.
A former newspaper and magazine photographer in Montreal, Constant was a natural athlete who had the physique of a jockey. However the idea of race riding hadn’t occurred to him until he was on assignment
At age 16 Skye was galloping at Woodbine
for trainer Red Johnson
and started her jockey apprenticeship at the beginning of the 2012 season at Woodbine with her Mum as her agent.
Skye rode 385 horses that year for 25 wins, 41 seconds and 31 thirds earning more than $1 million in purses that season then came back in 2013 for her best career year. On her way to a Sovereign Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, Skye recorded 54 wins, 57 seconds, 60 thirds with purse earnings of more than $2.1 million in 579 starts.
Transitioning to a journeyman rider the next year, Skye admits that she was struggling with her weight which took a toll on both her body and mind. She took
a step back and went back
to galloping horses in 2015. Skye still occasionally rode races when asked however she was no longer actively seeking mounts for the afternoons.
Jockey Skye Chernetz with her new agent at Woodbine, former jockey Constant Montpellier
to take pictures of a Quebec stallion. Speaking with the horsemen and seeing the other riders at the farm he had a revelation and took up the sport.
In 1993, at age 32, Constant won the Sovereign Award
for Apprentice Jockey after winning 149 races, 139 seconds and 109 thirds in 754 starts at Fort Erie, Greenwood and Woodbine Racetracks. His best seasons as a journeyman were in the early 2000’s when he was riding
top horses Win City, Gandria, Lady Shari and Stage Classic.
Towards the end of his career as a jockey Constant began competing in short track, long track and speed skating marathons and after winning the gold medal in the 40-49 age group in North American in 2008, he was ready to move up to the elite level.
Unfortunately one year into his new vocation he was bumped in a race resulting in him slamming into the boards head on at 45 km an hour. Fracturing his back in
The past few years Skye has been educating herself on nutrition and how to maintain a healthy riding weight. Preparing meals and eating smaller portions more often has helped not only on the scales but also with her mindset and change proved evident with her 26% in the money stats from last season (17 wins - 18 seconds - 14 thirds in 187 starts).
This year, with her Mum now training four horses at Woodbine, Skye has enlisted the support and services of former Jockey Constant Montpellier to handle her book as she embarks on a “comeback” in
six places Constant was sidelined and wasn’t the same athlete upon his eventual return. However it was issues with his heart that ultimately forced him to retire from skating.
Arriving back at Woodbine in late April Constant and Skye are bustling to get rolling in 2019. Despite 20 years separating their Champion Apprentice accolades there are similarities that Constant has seen in the talented young jockey, “ Skye has a winning attitude and is competitive.” and with a smile he says, “And we both don’t like to lose.”
Jockey Skye Chernetz aboard Grimgrinnin’ Ghost on May 5 at Woodbine
Thoroughbred Highlight - Page 6 - May 2019

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