Peers Pay Tribute to Eddie Delahoussaye

(from track report)
Backstretch peers at Santa Anita expressed praise for the man known as "Eddie D" Wedneday, two days after the 51-year-old Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye announced his retirement from racing.

"He's a great, great man, besides being a great rider," said jockey David Flores, who has ridden against Delahoussaye for many years. "It's been a privilege for me to ride with someone like him. When he was on the lead, you thought you were going to catch him, but he always had something left.

"And when he'd come from way out of it, you could hear him. He would make a noise like, 'hah, hah, hah!' and you would know he's coming and he would do everything just to get up, but he did it many times. How he did it, we don't know, but that was his way, and we're going to miss him.

Away from the track, Flores said, "He was one of the guys who would always give us good advice. Anytime I asked him about something, he was honest and would tell me what I wanted to know. He was always very professional and always took care of his business. I think everyone who rode with him learned a lot."

"It's probably a smart decision on his behalf," said trainer and good friend Patrick Gallagher. "It's always a big loss to the game when someone like (Chris) McCarron or Eddie retires."

Peter Eurton, the last trainer to put Delahoussaye on a winning horse, Real Paranoide on Aug. 25, at Del Mar, remembered the occasion. "I don't think we said a whole lot in the paddock," Eurton said. "It was a very social time, which it usually is with my riders. We don't try and get too heavy, and with Eddie, I mean, how are you going to get heavy with him? Basically, we just ask how things are going and tell the rider to have a safe ride. But we got a big kick about that when we read it was his last win."

"He was a class act all the way," said David Cross, who gave Delahoussaye a leg up on Sunny's Halo before the two won the 1983 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Delahoussaye was all smiles as he toured Clockers' Corner Wednesday morning.

The 51-year-old Hall of Fame jockey had been sidelined since suffering a concussion in a spill at Del Mar last Aug. 30. He had said on Dec. 26 that he would "hang it up" if doctors didn't give him the OK to resume his career. He has maintained all along he would be "here today, gone tomorrow," with no farewell tours or fanfares, when he did retire. As of Wednesday he hadn't changed his mind.

"No, I really don't want that," Delahoussaye said of any post-career celebrations. "As for the future, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to take some time off and just go from there."