Chantal Sutherland: Breeders’ Cup sex appeal

by | 11.01.2011 | 12:54pm

With no Zenyatta this year garnering national attention for the Breeders' Cup, perhaps a female jockey might do the job.  We're talking, of course, about Chantal Sutherland, who is getting a marketing push as she prepares to ride Game On Dude in the Breeders' Cup Classic Saturday.  Click below to watch the video.

  • SayWhat

    R You kidding me!!!!

  • Barbara

    Personally, I was hoping for at least one more random jet/email sent sound effect in that video.

  • Rachel

    The guys should like this promo ;-), but actually I thought a better promo… after what the other sports show they have for a girl, it would have been so cool to have pop up one after the other…Zen…Rachel…Grace…Goldie…Frankie…etc, but what do I know, I’m a girl.
    PS How come us girls only get a pot-bellied Kegasaurus?

  • Tinky

    Embarrassing use of marketing dollars. A mediocre rider who would be a relative unknown if it weren’t for the “sex sells” angle.

    The comparison to Anna Kornikova is fairly apt, as that one never won a WTA singles title, and never rose to higher than eighth in the world among women.

    Oh, and ever mind that there will be an actual female HORSE racing in the Breeders’ Cup that is a far more extraordinary talent than Chantal could ever dream of becoming. A mare whose record of three consecutive BC wins may never be equalled, gunning for an absolutely untouchable record. Who could possibly imagine an advertising campaign based on her?

  • Swamp Fox

    What’s the bumper sticker say? “Remember: no matter how fine she is somebody, somewhere is sick of her sh*t”.

  • DS

    Hey now Tinky she did win a G1 race this year, she can’t be that bad… right?

  • the-distaff-side

    Maybe, Swamp Fox, but there’s also a bumper sticker that says if it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble…

  • Brad Cummings

    Yeah Tinkster, that’s just what the general public wants – a Breeders’ Cup Mile three time winner, not an attractive female jockey! It amazes me how so many in this industry consistently miss the point of these sorts of promos.

    Goldikova is a phenom, no doubt. And she brings in people who love horse racing. But to general public, they couldn’t care less how good she or any other horse is or they’d be tuning in to the sport more regularly. This is an attempt to bring people to the table who don’t normally watch racing. The Danica comparison or the Anna comparison are apt in that they bring new eyes. I don’t like auto racing but I’ve tuned in to see if Danica could pull one off before.

  • Toast

    Maybe the owner is gettin’ him some? I hope so…she looks pretty good all dolled up! Game on Dude!

  • Swamp Fox

    the-distaff-side. Good one, I like it! Not true, but I still like it.

  • Barbara

    Brad, I have always been all for promoting Chantal to the mainstream, but that promo is pretty, um…lets leave it at mediocre.

    And by the way, after you tuned in for Danica, did you become a fan of auto racing?

    I agree with Repole, who I think did say we need to promote the horses. (I can’t keep track of exactly what all he says.) It is called HORSE racing, and if the interest in Zenyatta, Rachel, Barbaro, Smarty, etc. didn’t teach this sport’s marketers that it IS still about the horses, then they might not realize Chantal isn’t going to rescue them with a “tasteful” Playboy spread, either.

  • ErnieB

    she actually does have a chance with this one. i think she can win it with game on dude and loved his workout hopefully game on dude wont have problems

  • John

    The funny part, the closer you look at Chantal, the worse she actually appears! She’s no spring chicken after all.

    The real kicker about this, she is absolutely not the best female rider in the US either. Rosie N. is by a landslide better in the saddle than the Canadian-Bred.

  • Toast

    Rosie is hotter!

  • Uncle Moe

    Barbara — How catty of you. We expect more.
    When is the last time racing had a little bit of sex appeal? Diane Nelson, for about two minutes?
    My guess is this video was designed to try to get some mainstream media interested in horse racing. It’s about a subtle as a kick in the teeth — Danica, Anna, Natalie = Chantal. Absent Zenyatta, it was probably their best shot.

    As for her appearance, she is a very attractive woman.

  • Tinky

    Brad –

    Interesting that your mini-lecture reveals more about the problems with such campaigns than it does their effectiveness.

    Let’s unpack it:

    “that’s just what the general public wants – a Breeders’ Cup Mile three time winner, not an attractive female jockey!”

    If the American racing industry has any hope of thriving in the future, it will be the result of developing fans who will appreciate the horses, of which Goldikova is an exceptional example, and not mediocre though attractive female riders (or trainers or vets, etc.).

    It doesn’t require your sophisticated level of marketing expertise (*wink*) to understand the basic concept, a concept which is no different than attracting potential new fans with rock concerts or ostrich races. The problem is that:

    a) there is little evidence that such approaches have worked to any meaningful degree in the past

    b) attracting people to watch a particular broadcast is a good thing, but when they are then exposed to a Hank Goldberg, as opposed to a John Madden, the likelihood that more than a tiny percentage of those newly exposed will ultimately become valuable participants in the sport is remote

    So, save your amazement. It’s not about us less sophisticated types missing the point, it’s about some of us questioning the premise.


    “to general public, they couldn’t care less how good she or any other horse is or they’d be tuning in to the sport more regularly”

    Really? That’s your conclusion? And where, exactly, does the general public become exposed to horses like Goldikova? Their daily newspapers? TV? Google ads? Ads funded by racing groups (that’s a joke, by the way)?

    On the rare occasions that a high-profile horse is featured in serious ad buys, how have you and other ‘experts’ judged those efforts to be failures?

    When there is a potential Triple Crown winner, the numbers go up at Belmont astronomically. Not because people know the particular horse, necessarily, but because rare history may be in the making. You don’t see that winning a fourth consecutive Breeders’ Cup would be an even more rare event, and that it has serious marketing potential?


    “I don’t like auto racing but I’ve tuned in to see if Danica could pull one off before.”

    Great, you’ve tuned in. And how much money have you contributed to the sport? Do you buy their gear? Attend races live? I’m guessing not.

    How many people who may “tune in” to see Chantal are likely to become serious players?

    The point is that racing will never thrive in this country unless it markets to its strengths. Those strengths primarily include extraordinary animals, and the fact that it is arguably the most sublimely challenging game ever devised. A game that actually allows serious students of it to make money.

  • Barbara

    Moe, to be clear for the rest here – my meow was for the production value of the video, not the subject matter of the sex appeal of Chantal. And just an opinion. Purr.

  • Distaffer

    Average rider, average looker, not impressed by either.
    Ad in poor taste and somewhat demeaning to women.
    Gloria Steinem is cringing.

  • Glimmerglass

    Rosie doesn’t need gimmicks to generate popularity, she just delivers with wins.

    You can go back to Robyn Smith and her cover on Sports Illustrated. Looks generate buzz however exploiting it doesn’t the same ‘positive’ results in horse racing as it does in other sports.

  • Josh

    Nothing wrong with a little boob on the tube, but they could’ve made it a little less 1997 and stepped up the production quality. Danica, Sharapova, Chantal they all get used because they’re mildly attractive. Why re-invent the wheel. Sex sells

  • ITP

    Tinky by TKO over Cummings

  • voice of reason

    who designed this abomination. Beautiful woman, horrid production.

  • ThePlayboyCastle

    Whether on looks or talent, Mary Bacon was in a different universe than Chantal. R.I.P.

  • Brad Cummings

    You actually read that diatribe?

  • Swamp Fox

    How many people who may “tune in” to see Chantal are likely to become serious players?
    Like “I haven’t missed a Kentucky Derby in 20 years”. Really? “On T.V. of course.”

  • Barbara

    Yeah I did Brad. My eyes glaze over at long posts, even my own. But I gave Tinky a chance on that one, and she had relevant, thoughtful points to make. Stop being a cheerleader Brad, you don’t look so good in the uniform;-)

  • Oh Behave

    Time out, gang. That’s obviously not a TV commercial — doesn’t meet any of the criteria and the Breeders’ Cup ads are very well done — both the ESPN promos and the stuff that BC’s agency does. Whatever you think of its content, the production values on this are very, ahem, modest.

  • Brad Cummings


    I look fantastic in a two piece…

  • DavidB

    Wow – you all are taking this way too seriously. It’s just sort of fun. It’s not like there is a tab on her web site that says “click here if you are 18 or older”. I know – I checked.

  • frankie

    Sell that body girl!

    Got to love people who need attention.

    Look at me! Look at me!!!!!

  • TomHorn

    “I agree with Repole, who I think did say we need to promote the horses. (I can’t keep track of exactly what all he says.) It is called HORSE racing, and if the interest in Zenyatta, Rachel, Barbaro, Smarty, etc. didn’t teach this sport’s marketers that it IS still about the horses, then they might not realize Chantal isn’t going to rescue them with a “tasteful” Playboy spread, either. ” — Barbara

    Barbara … it’s also called AUTO racing. Can you tell me what kind of car Danica drives, or Dale, Jr. for that matter? Once you’ve figured that out, let me ask you this … will Uncle Mo still be around next year, or the year after that? What about Chantal? I’m a betting man, and I’ll take Chantal being around a lot longer than Uncle Mo.

    I would LOVE to see racing promote the horses, but when so few of the horses worth promoting run more than a year and a half these days, it’s not an effective use of time and money to do so.

    The sport needs to promote those that stick around (jockeys, trainers and owners), and also better figure out that GAMBLING drives the business and promote that. Brad was right on those counts.

  • Satch

    Wow, that was a long Tinky dissertation. Stopped reading one sentence in. Talk about overanalyze.

  • frankie


    How do you promote a 25% takeout?

    That’s why they don’t promote gambling.

  • the-distaff-side

    Swamp Fox, from a woman’s point of view (mine) I guarantee it is indeed true.

  • Marnie’sForio

    I’ll go with Robyn Smith from the 1970s .. anybody remember that picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

  • Barbara

    Tom, you see it the old way. We can’t promote HORSES, for HORSE racing, because we can’t promote just A Horse, who might be scratched or retired tomorrow.

    I am all for more efforts at human interest, too. Get those good looking jocks like Johnny V. out there since chances are WOMEN are the future of horse racing if it has one;-)

    The sad truth is that racing either has the B team on the marketing side or no budget for the better minds to use most of the time. Look at Zenyatta. Great mainstream promotion just right in front of the BC last year, just in time for her retirement. How long did she race? Three full years? How many BC’s – three?

    Anyhow, not sure why you ask ME about AUTO racing (maybe you wanted to ask Brad?) but no, I can’t tell you any of those details about AUTO racing, because I don’t care about AUTO racing. I couldn’t tell you details about golf when I watched Tiger a couple of times either. But I do care about and like and follow HORSE racing. See?

    On gambling, I agree it has to be promoted as an intellectual challenge yet a game of chance, but given the business model depends on high take out right now and owning a horse ain’t cheap, that is gonna be a hard one unless the business model changes, right?

  • really though

    perfect! because that’s exactly the target audience that horse racing is missing! dirty old men! OH WAIT. THAT MAKES UP THE ENTIRETY OF THE HORSE RACING BETTOR/FAN BASE. Booo. Bad taste.

  • Judi

    When I try to watch the video, it says that this video is private and won’t let me watch. What’s the deal with this, I am logged into the site.

  • the-distaff-side

    The media was different then, but Robyn Smith exuded class. She did get Fred Astaire, after all (not the turf horse lol).

  • Damon Runyon

    Excellent promotion for both Chantal and horse racing. She is smokin’ hot.

    No way, no how can anyone beat this game in the long run at the pari-mutuel windows. That is the ultimate illusion that horse racing sells.

  • Barbara

    I think the video was just meant as a pitch to get mainstream media interested in her story, and maybe not meant for this inside audience so much?

    The BC and their agency does do a great job with most of its video work, commercials, and lately with social media. And they did get Zenyatta placement on 60 Minutes, on Oprah’s list, and in high end fashion mag last year, which is no easy feat, even when you have the Horse of a Lifetime. You know, she is still a horse.;-)

  • David

    Does the fact there are 41 submissions to this thing in 4 hours tell you something? This girl can ride, she’s articulate and beautiful. You can have a whole bunch of Kim Kardashian (whoever the hell she is) but I’d love to see Chantal get even more traction. I’m just disappointed the video is shut down.

  • dr. ichabod

    chantal and rosie should make a video together

  • Barbara

    The video is back up. You can play it. The subject has generated discussion without doubt.

  • PWK

    A good, honest horse can make its passenger look good. I think she should just go for it and pose for Playboy.

  • Ida Lee

    Oh well…I did it…I broke down and watched the video of Chantal. She’s a beautiful girl and quite talented. But really, I watch racing because of the HORSES. They’re beautiful and they’re talented and are great athletes. If I could get to spend a day with the Mighty Curlin, (love him) or Brad Pitt, I would say sorry Brad, it’s not even close. So if the degradation of our female sport figures brings in the public, and as we all know, sex sells, so be it! I can’t change that. But I know of no human athlete that is more beautiful to me than Uncle Mo or Havre de Grace or Jackson Bend or Goldikova and they’re the reason I’m not going to be more than 5 feet away from my TV on Saturday. It will not be because Chantal looks great in a bikini.

  • Ryan Driscoll

    Well said Brad Cummings. Sad to say, but I doubt there are ten people in the world who aren’t die-hard thoroughbred fans who know who Goldikova is? We live in a world where Kegasus brings them in.

  • Barbara

    Ryan, how many do you think “Kegasus” brought in vs. regular old beer being restored to infield after two dry years? I hope you don’t think it was more than 2008 when beer flowed freely. And I will bet far more people have heard of Goldikova than Kegasus outside of Baltimore;-)

    One off event gimmicks don’t bring in fans that will come back, and handle was down at the Preakness. But a certain brunette brought in literally thousands more in every category last year at the BC, and chances are some of them will return this year to watch or maybe even wager.

    Chantal promotion on the other hand is great and overdue, and while she might not drive handle, she can drive awareness of the sport and the BC. I may have taken exception with the execution, but I was too hasty upon reflection. It was probably pitch perfect video for its intended audience to pitch CS story to media outlets.

  • dh

    Never seen her ride in person but after watching the videos of her riding SHE MUST GET SOME AWFULLY GOOD HORSES. Rosie is just as hot and a far better rider. The promotion is still the right idea though.

  • KKLYde

    Hmmm..”Over 450 wins”…in what like 11 years? How bout Rosie hittin 1,000 in what 5? Whatevers…..

  • Roger that.

    Frankie, comment # 30, NAILED IT!!

  • Distaffer

    For the Ladies: Have you seen Barbara Livingston’s Jockey calendar?? A “Little Bit” of beefcake. All have great bodies, if you like your men under 5’5″. Very tastefully done, nothing cheesy or sleazy. Chantal seems to be her own greatest promoter.

  • The Hotwalkers’ Union

    Re John #13 John, Which skills separate Rosie from Chantal? Please give us some details on what Chantal must do to show improvement that would be convincing to you. Or simply tell us which skills Rosie demonstrates that Chantal does not.

  • SteveG

    It’s not terribly imaginative to market Chantal Sutherland in much the same way other easy on the eyes women are marketed. We get hammered with the stuff on a daily basis.

    Simpleton concept – she’s not only good looking ( like Danica Patrick & Anna Kournikova) but she’s an athlete, too. Therefore, what? Tune into the Breeders Cup?

    I can imagine 3 people in the entire country putting a reminder into their smart phones to tune in rather than cut the grass or take a nap. :)

    I think they could have marketed Goldikova AND achieved the eye-candy factor by using Danica & Anna &, heck, throw in Chantal & then segue to Goldikova, highlights of her 3 previous Mile victories, perhaps with cuts back to the babes between each one…something like – “they may be good but…” Use that clip of Goldikova’s lad running down the track after #3 and then set-up some suspense for the upcoming race…

    Kill a couple of birds with one stone, pretty women athletes & Goldikova. Bang for the buck as the ad people like to say…(grin)

  • Rachel

    I agree with you, SteveG, only the segue could have been to all the “girls” maybe leading with Chantal, then Goldi, Gracie, Frankie..LOL

  • SteveG

    Good idea, Rachel. See what you can come up with between sips of coffee? For free.

  • Ryan Driscoll


    You are absolutely right. Zenyatta penetrated the mainstream and was a huge boost for racing. Same for Triple Crown contenders like Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, Big Brown….But, as brilliant and once in a lifetime as Goldikova is to us racetrackers, putting her in a mainstream media campaign won’t move the needle. I know there were some remarkable harness equine athletes that just ran on Breeders’ Crown day. Can I name any of them? Nope? I appreciate your obvious passion for the horse, but my point is that not many horses (excluding Zenyatta) will bring in new fans. For the last 30 years we have failed to sell one simple concept: Horseracing is Fun. Instead we have chosen to treat it like an insiders club that doesn’t need any new members.

  • Tinky

    “For the last 30 years we have failed to sell one simple concept: Horseracing is Fun.”

    Really? That’s the concept that is likely to create a new generation of gamblers who will, in turn, seriously increase handle?

    This is what I was getting at in my earlier response to Brad. Those who have marketed the sport in recent decades have missed the point entirely, and in that narrow sense I agree with Ryan (above). But Ryan’s prescription, and apparently that of other marketing ‘experts’, also miss the point.

    Racing is the most sublime, interesting and yes, complex form of recreational gambling ever devised. There are millions of potential players out there who with neither be attracted to the game through the use of sexy female riders in advertising, nor through the use of top horses.

    But what if there were a national advertising campaign designed around one (or more) interesting, articulate gamblers, hinting at what he/she/they look forward to betting in the Breeders’ Cup (or Derby, etc.)? What if a thoughtful, colorful player were to say something along the lines of:

    “Uncle Mo is favored to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, and there will be millions of dollars bet on him. You know why I’m happy about that? Because I don’t think he can win. In fact, I don’t expect him to finish in the top three!

    You see, I’m a contrarian. I make money betting on horses, and nothing is more valuable to me than the public making the wrong horse the favorite in a big race. Tune in on Saturday, and I’ll give you some insights on why I am so skeptical of Uncle Mo, and which runners I expect to fill out the top three places in the Classic.”

    The American thoroughbred industry has never, to my knowledge, produced advertising remotely similar to that. Which is another way of saying that it has apparently never occurred to the industry to attempt to appeal directly to their true target market.

    I’m all for attracting women, families, and all types of potential fans to the game. But the stark fact remains that a serious players account for a disproportionate percentage of the total handle. So attempting to attract and develop players who might eventually fall into that category should be a primary marketing goal. And yet it is virtually non-existent.

  • Stewart


    You need to lighten up.

    On a related note, have you ever been wrong about anything in your entire life? Just curious since while many of your points are valid, I am not sure I have ever seen you agree with an opposing view and instead you belittle anyone who disagrees with you.

  • Ryan Driscoll

    I agree totally Tinky. Family fun day doesn’t pay the bills at a racetrack. Kegasus doesn’t drive handle. Neither does teenage girls cheering for Zenyatta. It makes the attendence number look good and gives foodservice a little spark, but you are right, a racetrack business model is based on handle. New gamblers can either be cultivated or converted. Getting people to try the track as entertainment with a Friday night promotion (Downs After Dark) is a great way to cultivated. Just like unique hits on a website. You got them there, now you have to convince them to buy. Converting gamblers from another game to ours needs to be handled with a directly targeted campaign. I have been to a casino maybe twice in the last six years and have never given a casino any of my personal info. However, I get offers from the casinos in the mail all the time. Are they buying my info from my horseracing accounts? Probably. I have actually considered taking the casinos up some of their generous offers. I think the campaign you are talking about would be a success if in print and directed at lists generated from casinos, pokersites, off-shore sports betting……

  • Tinky

    Stewart –

    You should pay closer attention. I frequently agree with SteveG, Kyle, Larry Ensor, Caroline and others who comment on this site. Sometimes that agreement is explicit, often implicit.

    I noted that I agreed with Ryan’s broader point in the above post, and made no effort to “belittle” him. I did put quotes around the word “experts” (relating to marketing), because – as Ryan himself admits – such experts have compiled such a dismal record in the industry.

  • SteveG

    “Racing is the most sublime, interesting and yes, complex form of recreational gambling ever devised.”

    Tinky, what. You don’t think Hank Goldberg waxing rhapsodic about a vulnerable favorite, with a hint of day old mustard on his tie & the overall appearance of man who slept in his car last night qualifies as sublime?


  • richard henley

    As someone above noted, the number of posts on the Chantal video are the proof that sex does indeed sell, and, it would seem, has motivated comment by many PR blogging ‘experts’ on various and unrelated topics to do with racing. Since North American horse racing is in the state that it is, I put it to you that the only bad advertising for the industry is no advertising, which has been an established policy for many years. How has it worked out for ya’ so far?
    Up here at Woodbine Chantal looked pretty good through the field glasses and I see things have not changed a bit.
    Suck it up, SEX SELLS.

  • SixteenK Claimer

    When is that issue of Playboy coming out??

  • kyle

    Generally, I think a good dose of sex in racing advertising is a natural. There’s a primal nature to the game. Sex is one way to get at that. Better than the soapy, sentalmentalist tripe we usually get.
    Here’s a spot, aimed at a younger audience I’d like to see. Guy and a girl, he’s kind of the muscle head type, standing by the rail, looking at the program, discussing the next race in a very unsophisticated way. Another guy, much less physically formidable, standing nearby with friends, hears the conversation and politely interrupts. He explains why he likes a certain horse in the next race – lone speed, been facing better, good odds….something along that line. Musclehead dismisses him. The race is run. Our protaganists horse wins. The girl gives him a glance. Says to her Musclehead, “Honey, why don’t you go get us a beer.” After he walks away she sidles up to the handicapper, puts her arm on his shoulder and asks him who he likes in the next race. Tag line, “Horseracing, the game where knowledge is power.”

  • johnthekiwi

    I have literally been chortling over this thread. 1/ CS is cute but there are cuter out there (Anna Roberts anyone?), 2/ she is arguably a better jockey than Patrick is a driver or AK was a tennis player, 3/ the ad is tawdry at it’s best, 4/ I get a huge smile at the thought of Gloria Steinem or any other hypocritical hag crying and 5/ SteveG that is one of the most superb descriptions of anybody (Goldberg) that I have ever read.

    Why do we make such a big deal over gender in the sport? Horses I mean. Zenyatta will never hold a candle to Goldikova or Makybe Diva because she raced almost exclusively against her own gender whereas the other two, not to mention Black Caviar, simply raced against the best colt, gelding, horse, ridgling, filly or mare that happened to show up that day. I don’t give a bugger that HDG is a filly. I give a bugger about the fact that she will be getting a weight advantage over 10 F and that can help her win. I mean if she wins is the NOW going to crow about it or are the “Girl Power” people going to make stupid claims about the dominance of female horses? C’mon. This is about gambling. No serious punter I know of tosses out a F or M in a mixed gender race simply because they are female. It might just be a bigger deal in the US because such events are so rare as opposed to the norm down under where the majority of races are mixed.

    As a punter and an owner I would put Helen Thomas up if I thought she could win. Save the T & A stuff for other forums. If racing wants to survive it needs handle. The little old lady that wants to turn her $2 into $2.10 betting Zenyatta in a 5 horse F & M race at Hollywood Park is of about as much use to the sport as a frat boy from the U of Louisville who goes to CD this Saturday hoping to get a crack at Sutherland.

    Too many tracks, too many race dates, too many small crappy fields, too many jurisdictions and rules, way too many awful horses. But most of all a society that has just moved on to other things. Asia is typically about 20 years behind the US in fads. It will be interesting to see if the packed tracks in that part of the world will be as full in a couple of decades.

  • Don Reed

    This is one of the reasons why I’m paying no attention to articles about the BC 2011.


  • The Hotwalkers’ Union

    John are you ok? Cat got your tongue? Is it possible that you do not have the answers to support your own blog? Don’t feel alone. A great many people have a lot to say about matters they know little or nothing about. Looks like your credibility is gone.

  • Rachel

    Kyle #65: That was really good!
    I say we get the Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa (yeah, ladies!)…”Here we are at Churchill Downs, look at your man, now look at me, look at his bets, now look at mine, now look where your sitting, now look where I’m sitting… on the horse with the trifecta score…”

  • unbelievable

    LOL You all are great! And, as a consumer, I can see that the amount of interest here alone, is evident of the publicity power delivered by the ad. We need both, hero horses and charming and interesting individuals, to promote our sport. Truth is; controversy doesn’t hurt as much as all might think. In fact I’m watching an interesting barn saga unfold. I might have to take up writing novels. Tyrannical owner, exploitative and cunning racing manager, trainer under pressure, aspiring bug riders, hired henchmen out to ruin trainer, sound interesting?

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