This article appears in the March 2011 issue of LouisvilleMagazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
She may be known for her successful weight-loss empire, but Jenny Craig has another livelihood: horse racing. Growing up in New Orleans, she rode horses and also watched Thanksgiving races at the Fair Grounds. Craig and her late husband, Sidney, bought their first Thoroughbred in 1978 and turned the hobby into California’s Rancho Paseana.
The couple ran Dr Devious in the 1992 Derby, placing seventh. In 2003 they bought Candy Ride, who remained undefeated throughout his career, though an injury forced him to retire before he could run for the roses. Candy Ride sired several sons, two of which raced in recent Derbys. Chocolate Candy placed fifth in 2009, and Kentucky-bred Sidney’s Candy, a favorite last year, finished 17th.
In March, we asked if Craig had any Candy-named colts that she hopes to run this May. “Too early to tell,” she said.
“It was always Sid’s dream to win the Kentucky Derby,” she added. “We’re going to keep on trying.”
What was your first Derby experience?
Jenny Craig: “The first time I attended was 1978, when Affirmed won and then went on to win the Triple Crown. We were friends with the horse’s trainer, Laz Barrera, and he invited us. It was so exciting, and I knew then I wanted to one day have a horse that could win it.”
How confident were you before last year’s Derby?
JC: “With Sidney’s Candy, I really felt we had the best horse. Trainer Bob Baffert saw him work and said, ‘Sidney’s Candy is the horse to beat.’ Drawing the outside post — and having to run on one of the muddiest tracks in Derby history — did not help his chances. I have learned in horse racing that the best horse doesn’t always win.”
What else do you do while you’re in Louisville?
JC: “There are some fine restaurants. We like to have a horse and buggy take us to dinner, and then we walk back to the hotel, hoping to burn off a few calories.”
Photo: John Nation