At the conclusion of her time on the Keeneland turf course April 10, Juddmonte Farms homebred Juliet Foxtrot (GB) had managed to fulfill the expectations her connections held for her over the past four seasons. In bringing her own best self to the surface, the bay mare also uncorked an undercurrent of emotions that had been bubbling amongst those who had kept the ultimate faith in her abilities.
Taken at face value, the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) represented validation for Juliet Foxtrot as the 6-year-old mare earned her first career top-level victory when she captured the 1 1/16-miles turf test in gate-to-wire fashion. As is often the case where success in the Thoroughbred industry is concerned, there was a deeper sentiment behind that trip to the winner’s circle as evidenced by the wattage of the smile coming from Juddmonte Farms general manager Garrett O’Rourke.
Only days before the Jenny Wiley was contested, industry legend Alice Chandler passed away at the age of 95 leaving her husband of 49 years, former Juddmonte president Dr. John Chandler, among her survivors. That Dr. Chandler was on hand to bask in Juliet Foxtrot’s achievement was all the more poignant considering the bay mare gave the Juddmonte operation its first Grade/Group 1 win since the death of its founder, Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, in January.
“I think you’re talking about people who had passion, and love for the game and love for the horses and an appreciation for horses,” O’Rourke said of Alice Chandler and Prince Khalid. “We’re talking about a filly here who deserved the opportunity to win something big and we gave it to her – and she delivered. Maybe you get over emotional about things like that but if you’re really into it, it means an awful lot to you and things like that meant an awful lot to Prince Khalid and meant an awful lot to Alice Chandler. So yes, I think they would have taken tremendous appreciation for the performance of a horse like that today.”
There has been much to appreciate where Juliet Foxtrot is concerned as the daughter of Dansili (GB) began her career in the UK before winning her North American debut at Keeneland in April 2019.
She has knocked heads against the best of the turf female division, facing the likes of champions Rushing Fall and Uni (GB) the past couple seasons, and had earned a pair of Grade 3 victories in the 2019 Modesty Handicap and 2020 Gallorette Stakes. Her quest for top-level accolades, however, had been agonizingly elusive as she had hit the board in four prior tries in Grade 1 races including a third-place run in the 2020 edition of the Jenny Wiley.
Her pedigree and race record would have earned her a date with the stallion of Juddmonte’s choosing had they opted to retire her to their broodmare band at the end of her 5-year-old campaign. Instead, her team gave Juliet Foxtrot the chance to take care of some unfinished business by keeping her in training with Brad Cox for another season – a decision that paid the ultimate dividends when she crossed the wire two lengths in front in the Jenny Wiley to improve her record to six wins from 20 career starts.
“It’s tremendous because we made a brave move to keep her in training for an extra year and I think the motivation for doing that was how close she had gotten to (a Grade 1 win),” O’Rourke said after the Jenny Wiley. “For a filly of her age, she’s actually a very sound, honest, happy filly and when I saw her in the paddock today…I honestly took one look at her and said ‘That’s the best I’ve ever seen her look’.
“She’s been placed with some great fillies and run some fantastic races. When you run that well for so long, I just hated to retire her without winning the big one. So this is huge.”