Remembering Hall Of Famer Antley: ‘We All Have Crosses That We Bear And Pains That We Suffer’

by | 08.07.2015 | 1:38am
Chris Antley, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame nearly 15 years after his death from a drug overdose

Chris Antley will be enshrined in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Friday, nearly 15 years after he died from an overdose of a combination of drugs. Speaking on his behalf will be his widow Natalie Jowett Antley, and sitting in the audience at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will be their daughter, Violet Grace Antley, born the month after the troubled jockey's death.

As Joe Drape writes in the New York Times, Natalie Antley is reminded of Chris “every day when she looks in Violet Grace Anthony's piercing blue eyes and sees her late husband looking back.”

Antley was a phenom as a young rider, winning 469 races in his third year in the saddle at the age of 19. He won two Kentucky Derbies and is remembered by many for the way he jumped off an injured Charismatic – whose bid to win the 1999 Triple Crown fell short in the final leg, the Belmont Stakes – and cradled the colt's fractured leg in his arms, a move that may have saved Charismatic's life.

But, as Drape writes, Antley's life off the racetrack was not as easy. “He was in and out of rehabilitation centers for drug addiction, was bipolar and fought depression,” Drape writes. He died at the age of 34.

Natalie Antley says their daughter knows how Chris Antley's life came to an end. “I told her the truth, and she is well aware of his struggles,” she said. “What I want Violet to take away is that we all have gifts. We all have crosses that we bear and pains that we suffer.”

Read more in the New York Times

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