By Dick Jerardi
Jaywalk’s owners were concerned as the envelope was about to be opened for the Eclipse Award for Champion Juvenile Filly. They need not have worried. Jaywalk dominated her Eclipse Award rivals the same way she dominated her rivals on the track in 2018. She was named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly near the start of the Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24, getting 214 first-place votes to runner-up Newspaperofrecord’s 31.
Thus, Jaywalk, co-owned by the D. J. Stable LLC and Cash Is King LLC, became the second Parx-based horse to win an Eclipse Award this century. Not coincidentally, both horses were trained by John Servis, the man who gave the world Smarty Jones in 2003 and 2004.
“It was sweet,” said Servis, who is two-for-two when he appears at the Eclipse Awards. “When they’re opening that envelope, you always second guess. When they called her name, it was great. We started high fiving.”
It was the first Eclipse for the Green family’s D.J. Stable LLC, which has run horses at Parx for 40 years. And it is the second for Cash Is King’s Chuck Zacney, whose Afleet Alex won in 2005 as Champion Three-Year-Old.
“It was surreal,” said Jon Green, who accepted the award at the ceremony. “You think about the horse and what the filly has accomplished, but you also think about the 40 years of being in the business and all the claiming races you went to and all the ups and downs of the business. I think that’s why we appreciate the people so much that we have surrounding us right now. They’re great individuals and really good at what they do, but they’re genuine people and you can trust them. That’s so hard in this business. I think that’s why it made it such an enjoyable night because it was just fun to celebrate with people you enjoy spending time with.”
Jon Green knew the history of the award: that it typically goes to the best dirt horse and especially the filly that won on Breeders’ Cup Day. Well, Newspaperofrecord also dominated on Breeders’ Cup Day, but she has only run on grass. So, history was served again.
Jaywalk finished second in her first start and then won her next four by a combined 20 1/4 lengths. She won the Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park by 5 3/4 lengths and returned 26 days later to crush the field in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs by 5 1/2 lengths.
Jaywalk is gearing up for her 2019 campaign at Palm Beach Downs in South Florida. Her likely first start is the March 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream, with the Ashland at Keeneland and the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on the agenda.