Sidney H. Craig

Sidney H. Craig

Anne M. Eberhardt

Sidney H. Craig, Won Epsom Derby, Dead

Sidney H. Craig in select company: Won the Epsom Derby with a birthday present.

Sidney H.  Craig, who received a colt named Dr Devious as a birthday present and watched him win the 1992 Ever Ready  Epsom Derby (Eng-I), died July 21 from cancer. He was 76.

Craig was 60 when he received Dr Devious from his wife, Jenny, who bought the colt for $2.5 million in the spring of 1992. An Irish-bred, Dr Devious was coming off a good second-place finish in an English group stakes.

The plan was for Dr Devious to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but after he finished unplaced, it was decided to try him in the Epsom Derby.

“Sid called me at a hotel in Louisville after the Kentucky Derby and said, ‘What do you think about him?’ ” said Ron McAnally, who trained many of the Craigs’ top runner. “I told him Dr Devious is a grass horse, and we should take him back to England. Which we did.”

Dr Devious won the Epsom Derby. “Nothing will beat this dream,” Craig said after the win.

Dr Devious later won the Kerry Group Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and ran second in the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I). Returned to North America, he finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) that fall. He was an English champion 3-year-old male.

The Craigs, who were best known outside of racing for their Jenny Craig weight loss centers, were highly recognizable in racing circles in the 1990s. Sidney Craig raced such graded stakes winners as Bienvenido, Brave Act, Different, Exchange, Golden Arches, Paseana, Toss of the Coin, and Victory Stripes.

Paseana, an Argentine-bred, won the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) and was voted champion older female that year. She repeated as champion in 1993.  She is a member of the Hall of Fame.

This decade, the Craigs were represented in the grade I ranks by Candy Ride. Candy Ride, who also was bred in Argentina, stands at stud at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington. 

“No trainer could have a better client than the Craigs,” McAnally said. “Jenny, although she stayed in the background, was very instrumental in their success.

“Sid was so much fun. He never bothered you and let me do what I had to do when it came to horses. My wife and I probably had more good times with them than in any time in our lives. Everything they did was first class, from flying to Europe to getting front row seats for New York plays.  They also were very supportive of charities, giving away millions of dollars.”

Craig liked to make a big deal over Jenny’s birthday. He surprised Jenny with a colt named Voyagers Quest the day the horse was running in the 1997 Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I, French Derby). She noticed it was hers while looking in the program. Unlike Dr Devious in the Epsom Derby, Voyagers Quest ran unplaced. Voyagers Quest later was sent to McAnally in Southern California and was grade II stakes-placed.

Craig, who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, is survived by Jenny and five children.