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Jenny Craig finds strength, enjoyment at races

By Julie Sarno

Contributor

Jenny Craig lost her husband, Sid, in July 2008. Sid was her partner in life as well as in business, and they shared a hobby - racing horses.

The successful Jenny Craig Weight Loss business, which the couple founded, became a public company years ago. The Craigs took pleasure in watching their racehorses. But last summer, Jenny Craig admitted she did not attend the races much following her husband’s death.

Asked what advice she would give to others dealing with the loss of a spouse, Craig said: “I can only answer for myself. I changed my routine, because if you did everything together, the void becomes so omnipresent and overwhelming.

“You can’t live with your grief 24 hours a day. It’s not good for your health,” Craig said. She was married to Sid for 30 years. “Take care of yourself. Do things that will be good for you healthwise and emotionally.”

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To change her routine, Craig left her home in Del Mar and went to spend some time in New York. There, she walked and visited museums. She established a different routine.

This summer, Craig will enjoy watching her horses race in the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust name. They carry the distinctive dark blue-and-white Craig racing silks. The silks feature a black emblem with two horses, one heavy and one slim. “That’s before and after,” said Craig, laughing about the connection to dieting.

One of Craig’s fondest racing memories involved a surprise birthday present for Sid. When he turned 60, Jenny gave him a 3-year-old colt named Dr. Devious.

The plan was for Dr. Devious to do well in the Kentucky Derby. He finished a disappointing seventh but then won the 1992 Epsom Derby (pronounced Darby) a 3-year-old classic race in England.

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In the 1990s, the Craigs bought a 240-acre horse property in Rancho Santa Fe, originally built by former San Diego Chargers owner Eugene Klein. The couple renamed the property Rancho Paseana after a two-time champion mare who raced for them.

“The farm is running even better now,” Craig said. “Grant Hofmans (son of trainer David Hofmans) is our ranch manager, and he is doing a fantastic job. Sid interviewed him a week before he died.”

Craig is well known for her fashion sense and for wearing beautiful hats on Opening Day at the races. One year, she appeared at Del Mar’s Opening Day wearing a stylish gray hat of sculpted pleated fabric that she had worn to Royal Ascot just a few weeks earlier.

Asked what dieting advice she would give, Craig said: “People look on dieting like a train: You get on and you get off. It’s not. It’s a healthy lifestyle. It’s a choice.”