Horsewoman Denyse Pendanx Cruguet Dies

Wife of Jean Cruguet was a pioneering woman in French racing.

Denyse Pendanx Cruguet, one of the pioneering woman in French racing and wife of Triple Crown-winning jockey Jean Cruguet, died Sept. 27 at her home in Versailles, Ky. She was 80.  

Cruguet's health had been in decline ever since suffering a debilitating stroke in 2003.

In the 1960s, the French-born Cruguet was among the earliest women to exercise horses on the racetrack in Europe, making headlines for her efforts. Eventually, she was one of the first women with her own training stable in France.

She met her future husband when he rode one of her troublesome horses to victory. “She thought I was a genius, and that’s how we got together,” said Jean Cruguet, who won the 1977 Triple Crown on Seattle Slew. To further his riding, they left France for the United States in 1965 and married in Florida.

In addition to her husband, Denyse Cruguet is survived by a daughter, Leslie, and a granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at Keeneland in the Clubhouse Room on Friday, Oct. 1, at 3 p.m. Speakers include former jockey Pat Day.

The family has asked that expressions of sympathy be made to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund or to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility near Georgetown, Ky.