Jenny Craig finds strength at races


By Julie Sarno


Jenny Craig lost her husband, Sid, in July 2008. Sid was her partner in life as well as in business, and they shared a hobby - racing horses.

The successful Jenny Craig Weight Loss business, which the couple founded, became a public company years ago. The Craigs took pleasure in watching their racehorses. But last summer, Jenny Craig admitted she did not attend the races much following her husband’s death.

Asked what advice she would give to others dealing with the loss of a spouse, Craig said: “I can only answer for myself. I changed my routine because if you did everything together, the void becomes so omnipresent and overwhelming.

“You can’t live with your grief 24 hours a day. It’s not good for your health,” Craig said. She was married to Sid for 30 years. “Take care of yourself. Do things that will be good for you healthwise and emotionally.”

To change her routine, Craig left her home in Del Mar and went to spend some time in New York,. where she walked and visited museums.

This summer, Craig will enjoy watching her horses race in the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust name. They carry the distinctive dark blue-and-white Craig racing silks. The silks feature a black emblem with two horses, one heavy and one slim. “That’s before and after,” said Craig, laughing about the connection to dieting.

She enjoyed her greatest moment at Del Mar with Sid in 2003, when Candy Ride won the Pacific Classic. Candy Ride was piloted by jockey Julie Krone and came home in front by 3 1/4 lengths in Del Mar’s premier race. Then 4, he was trained by Ron McAnally. Now 10, Candy Ride is at stud. Craig has 12 broodmares, most of which are bred to Candy Ride, a champion miler in Argentina before being bought by the Craigs and brought to the U.S.

This year, Craig is enjoying racing Candy Ride’s offspring. The most famous is Chocolate Candy, a 3-year-old colt who raced in two of the 3-year-old classic races this spring.

Chocolate Candy finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby, won by Mine That Bird, and ninth in the Belmont Stakes, won by Summer Bird. Craig, who is linked to dieting, names many of her horses after forbidden treats.

She hopes to see a few more of Candy Ride’s youngsters race soon. She has several 2-year-olds in training, including Halloween Candy with Jerry Hollendorfer, who also conditions Chocolate Candy. Ivory Fudge is with trainer John Sadler. She has 20 horses currently in training, some of which are with McAnally, Bill Spawr and Clifford Sise.

One of Craig’s fondest racing memories involved a surprise birthday present for Sid. When he turned 60, Jenny gave him a 3-year-old colt named Dr. Devious.

The plan was for Dr. Devious to do well in the Kentucky Derby. He finished a disappointing seventh but then won the 1992 Epsom Derby (pronounced Darby), a 3-year-old classic race in England.

The Craigs’ Tossofthecoin finished last in the 1993 Kentucky Derby. And Craig partnered with Madeleine Paulson (now Madeleine Paulson Pickens) to race Rock and Roll, a 14th-place finisher in 1998.

In the 1990s, the Craigs bought a 240-acre horse property in Rancho Santa Fe, originally built by former San Diego Chargers owner Eugene Klein. The couple renamed the property Rancho Paseana after a two-time champion mare who raced for them. Paseana’s victories include the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 1992. Paseana also won the 1994 Chula Vista Handicap at Del Mar (now run as the Clement Hirsch Stakes).

“The farm is running even better now,” Craig said. “Grant Hofmans (son of trainer David Hofmans) is our ranch manager, and he is doing a fantastic job. Sid interviewed him a week before he died.”

Craig is well known for her fashion sense and for wearing beautiful hats on Opening Day at the races. One year, she appeared at Del Mar’s Opening Day wearing a stylish gray hat of sculpted pleated fabric that she had worn to Royal Ascot just a few weeks earlier.

Asked what dieting advice she would give, Craig said: “People look on dieting like a train: You get on and you get off. It’s not. It’s a healthy lifestyle. It’s a choice.”