Triple Crown Jockey Cruguet Plans Return to Racing

By Claire Novak

One week after famed jockey Angel Cordero Jr. makes his brief comeback at Philadelphia Park, another legendary reinsman hopes to return to racing – this time at Keeneland.

According to Kentucky farm owner-turned-trainer Fred Seitz, 66-year-old Jean Cruguet will get first call on the unraced 4-year-old Worthy Lover (by Rizzy), a New York-bred in training with Seitz, when the horse starts for the first time at Keeneland.

"Jean has been breezing occasional horses for us and a few other trainers out at Keeneland for quite some time," said Seitz, owner of Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky. "He's very fit, I think he told me he weighs about 114, and he looks very good in the saddle. We think it'll be great to have him as our jockey. Now it just depends on how our horse trains until then."

Cruguet, who won the 1977 Triple Crown aboard Seattle Slew, rode his last race in 1996. He said his decision to ride again was not impacted by Cordero's one-day venture out of retirement. He will consider racing during the fall meet at Keeneland depending on the horses he exercises. "I know what I have under me, believe me," Cruguet said. "If I ride good horses in the mornings, I'd love to get on them in the afternoons."

Seitz said Worthy Lover could start either Oct. 7 or 8. The 58-year-old Kentucky horseman began training in February of this year and has sent 11 horses to the post so far. His first career win came with the 2-year-old filly May Night (by Gulch) in the $65,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga Sept. 2.