09/29/2010 3:17PM

Denyse Pendanx Cruguet dies


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Denyse Pendanx Cruguet, one of the first female exercise riders and trainers in France, died on Tuesday at her home in Versailles, Ky., seven years after suffering a serious stroke, according to her family. Pendanx Cruguet, who was married to Triple Crown-winning jockey Jean Cruguet, was 80.

In the 1960s, Pendanx Cruguet was one of the first women to exercise horses regularly at French training yards. She later opened her own stable, which led to her first meeting with Jean Cruguet, who was nine years younger.

“She thought I was a genius, and that’s how we got together,” said Jean Cruguet, in a statement distributed by her family.

The Cruguets left France for the United States and were married in 1965 in Florida. In 1977, Jean Cruguet rode Seattle Slew to wins in all three Triple Crown races, with support from his wife.

“She was my wife, best friend, big sister, and like a mother to me,” Cruguet said.

Following a stroke in 2003, Denyse Cruguet was unable to move or speak. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Leslie Corker, and a granddaughter. The family asked for expressions of sympathy to be directed to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund or two horse-related charities, Old Friends, or the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown.