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Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Friend who found jockey doubts findings

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Cuts and bruises on Chris Antley's body, and blood spattered on his clothing, the floor and walls of his home initially led police to suspect the jockey was the victim of a homicide.

But after an autopsy concluded he died of an overdose of several drugs, police and a county coroner returned to Antley's Pasadena home for a followup investigation that "does not support foul play," according to the final autopsy report released Wednesday.

Friend Cathy Park, who along with Antley's brother discovered the jockey's body Dec. 2, read the report and said she believes Antley was involved in a struggle the night he died.

As evidence, she cites the trauma to Antley's head, as well as bruises and abrasions to his arms, hands and right foot. However, the autopsy found his scalp and arm injuries were nonfatal.

"I just don't know how he got all those injuries. There's quite a few," said Park, who regularly looked in on Antley. "Chris couldn't have done that to himself, I don't think."

Police initially investigated the death as a homicide, saying the 34-year-old Antley had "severe head trauma." But the 40-page autopsy report said there were no skull fractures and puncture marks on Antley's body did not extend through his scalp or into his skull.

"I think there was a struggle there," said Park, who last saw and spoke to Antley the afternoon of his death. "I was there every day. He didn't have any bruises on him. When I saw Chris and talked to him, he was not high on anything."

In early January, the coroner ruled Antley's death was accidental, the result of multiple drug intoxication. The cuts and abrasions were attributed to Antley being in a drug-induced haze and possibly falling down while under the influence.

Toxicology reports showed Antley had a lethal level of Clobenzorex, a diet pill that metabolized into amphetamine in his blood. Also, methamphetamine and Tegretol, an anti-seizure medication, were "at or near toxic levels in the blood," the autopsy said.

The autopsy report provides greater detail of the scene at Antley's home and the injuries on his body.

Numerous pill containers and medications were found in the bedrooms, scattered pills were on the floor and 35 gel capsules -- later identified as Clobenzorex -- were collected. The coroner's office said it had never before seen Clobenzorex, which is not sold in the United States.

Police continue to look into how Antley, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, obtained the drugs.

Antley was found lying in a hallway, where blood was spattered low on the walls as though he had been crawling, the coroner's report said. His white T-shirt and beige jeans were covered with blood splotches.

The coroner's report included initial observations at the scene that called Antley's death a homicide, described arm bruises as appearing to be "defensive wounds from warding off blows" and stated that there were "obvious signs of a struggle throughout the home."

A bedroom was in disarray and the door was torn from its hinges. Blood was on the door and the location of drops of blood inside the bedroom suggested to the investigator that Antley had stood behind the door "trying to stave off his attacker."

The report noted there was no forced entry and no indication of a robbery.