LOUISVILLE, Ky. –The Green family, which lives near Monmouth Park on the North Jersey Shore, has owned horses for more than three decades. Chuck Zacney has been in the game half as long. When the Greens spent a little more money than they had planned buying horses in 2017, they were looking for a partner in some of them — one now a 2-year-old gray filly by Cross Traffic they would name, quite appropriately, Jaywalk.
Zacney joined the Greens in owning a few horses. They hired a trainer who comes to Churchill Downs only when he is going to win the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and, now, after Jaywalk crushed the field Friday afternoon, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. That man is John Servis, who trained the great Smarty Jones and is slowly but surely putting together a Hall of Fame resume.
"I've been very fortunate to come with three very nice horses,'' said Servis, who lives in Bensalem and has been training horses at Parx Racing for decades.
Leonard Green was at Churchill with his wife, Lois, and son, Jonathan. Zacney went to London last week to see the Eagles play and spent a few days in Ireland. He got off a plane in Philadelphia two hours before the race, stopped at the Oaks Turf Club to put some money into his betting account, and watched the race by himself at his Collegeville home.
Jaywalk, ridden perfectly by Joel Rosario, stormed right to the front, and none of the other nine fillies was a threat. Jaywalk won by 5 1/2 lengths and ran the mile-and-a-16th in 1 minute, 43.62 seconds, .05 faster than the unbeaten colt Game Winner took to win the Juvenile two races later.
The Greens, who race as DJ Stable (daughter Debbie, son Jon) and have won nearly 2,500 races, won the Grade I Ashland 70 miles from Churchill at Keeneland in 1991 with a filly named Do It With Style. They did not win another until Jaywalk won the Oct. 7 Frizette at Belmont Park. Now, they have a win with a $2 million purse. Zacney, the head of the partnership that owned the wonderful Afleet Alex, is no stranger to big wins. There could be more big ones in 2019 with Jaywalk.