Tuesday 25 July 2017
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Interviews

Interview with Jean Cruguet, Triple Crown Winner

Interviewed by Tricia Psarreas on January 11, 2008

Jean Cruguet is a retired thoroughbred jockey who is best known for his 1977 United States Triple Crown win on Seattle Slew. He won countless national and international races and is one of the last men to ever win a Triple Crown title in the United States. As a racing legend and an advocate for better horse rights, Jean is one of the most prominent figures in the history of thoroughbred racing.

Tricia:             Why do you think there have not been any more Triple Crown winners?

Jean:               People are eager for money. They go for the money and for the rush. They have new jockeys coming in every two to three months. Before with horses like Seattle Slew, horses were made to win a lot of races. Now horses are running longer races before they’re ready. To me that’s a joke. They put so much wear and tear on the horses. They work the horse and then they [the horses] are all done. Before horses used to get tender loving care. Now there’s no more tender loving care.

Tricia:             Shane has already told me that you never cheated the scales, but did you ever see any other jockeys cheat the scales?

Jean:               They don’t want people to cheat. They have to cheat because they get too heavy. In New York, they check and then you take more weight off. Then you eat and you’re two pounds over. It’s cold and you don’t want to go outside so you sit back down. Before you know it, you’re over and you have to cheat.

Sometimes I would see the clerk of scales just let people go. You have a big horse, a little jockey because they like you. Then you have a little horse and a big jockey, so sure they cheat. Sure. A lot of things are going on. Sure.

 

Tricia:             Did you respect Shane as a rider?

Jean:               Shane worked all the way to the top. He was a great rider, but he gained too much weight, got depressed, and he stopped for a while. He wasn’t riding anymore. Then they [the jockeys] asked him to show up and he paid for it.

 

Tricia:             Do you support all of Shane’s fights?

Jean:               Sure, he’s trying to help the jockeys and I support everything that he says. He’s there to support the jockeys. When Keenland happened, they took him out of the top. They wanted him to stop politicking. He said that he would stop riding for the rights of jockeys. Jockeys should be ashamed because they all turned their backs. That is a disgrace. I would have stopped riding and said listen we can’t do that. I would have stood up and said we can’t ride and they have to listen.

 

Tricia:             Do you think it’s a good idea that Shane is writing a book?

Jean:               Shane was a top jockey and he should have finished on top. I’m very proud of him to write a book. Things need to change and if they don’t change soon, I might write a book, too. I support Shane’s fights and I hope this book finally helps him get back on top.

 

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