Horsewoman, Broadcast Pioneer Charlsie Cantey Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance

by | 05.10.2018 | 9:37am
Charlsie Cantey

Charlsie Cantey has been actively involved in several aspects of Thoroughbred racing for more than 35 years and is best known as a racing personality for her on-air television commentary, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup.

She has a valuable perspective on the sport by virtue of that wide-ranging experience, having seen our sport over the years from a variety of perspectives.

In a statement to WHOA, she said:

“My career in Thoroughbred racing began in 1968, the year Dancer's Image was disqualified in the Kentucky Derby for Butazolidin. After four decades of breaking yearlings, galloping horses, training a small string and covering national racing broadcasts from coast-to-coast, I retired in 2005 from active involvement in an industry, by then governed by a patchwork of permissive medication rules I no longer recognized.

“Today, I feel that it is imperative that the U.S. cease race-day medication and that we do so now; hence I fully support WHOA's efforts. Our decades of dangerously loose regulations are inexplicable to the rest of the world, and totally unforgivable for the safety of our horses.”

A graduate of George Washington University, Charlsie Cantey began working with race horses in New York in the late 1960s, galloping for trainers Sidney Watters, Elliott Burch, and schooling steeplechasers for Ronnie Houghton.

Following her marriage to trainer Joe Cantey in 1969, she began working for Frank Whiteley, Jr. and his son, David, where she would remain for nearly a decade. She galloped many top horses, including Icecapade, Honorable Miss, champion Revidere, and briefly, the immortal Ruffian for the Whiteleys and stars such as Cox's Ridge, Temperence Hill and Majesty's Prince for her husband.

In 1975, Cantey was chosen to join WOR-TV's weekly racing television show with Frank Wright and Dave Johnson, becoming one of the first women to serve in such a role.

She went on to work with CBS Sports in 1977 and became a member of the on-air crew for the next nine years, during which time she originated the “horseback interview” role that is now a staple of virtually all network telecasts of the sport. Cantey later provided commentary for ABC Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN on their respective racing telecasts and was a member of approximately two dozen Eclipse Award-winning telecasts.

From 1996-'99, Cantey trained a small public stable in Maryland, saddling 60 winners, including three stakes horses.

Cantey has one son, J.B. Cantey, and is married to W. Douglas Davidson, Senior Vice President and Financial Adviser at Morgan Stanley. They now live on Spring Island S.C.

The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. The appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will resolve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.

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