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Barn Notes: Pretty Face Just Part of Jaywalk's Charm for Servis

April 26, 2019

While shopping for racing prospects at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, trainer John Servis and bloodstock adviser Jim McGreevy agreed that Hip 2109 would be an excellent addition to Leonard Green’s D.J. Stable. The gray filly had landed on both of their wish lists after each had scouted prospects.

The youngster, bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds and consigned by Gainesway, agent, has made a name for herself as Jaywalk. The daughter of Cross Traffic was last year’s champion 2-year-old filly in a season highlighted by a triumph in the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs. Jaywalk was third in the Central Bank Ashland (G1) at Keeneland on April 6 and is one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill next Friday.

Servis vividly recalls his first meeting with Jaywalk, saying her face was the first attraction.

“A lot of people don’t realize it, but when a horse walks out of the barn, the first thing you look at is their head,” he said. “You can tell right away if a horse has a smart head. She had a feminine head that went along with her body.”

Servis said Jaywalk was of average size and he liked her balanced build, but her walk sealed the deal. She had a certain swagger that is difficult to explain but is easily recognizable to astute horsemen. 

Servis estimated the filly was worth $150,000, but Green willingly went to $190,000 as they sat together in the Sales Pavilion.

After Jaywalk was runner-up in her career debut at Monmouth Park in June 2018, Green sold a partial ownership interest to Chuck Zacney’s Cash is King. Jaywalk has banked $1.4 million while winning four of seven starts.

While Servis operates his stable at Parx near Philadelphia, Jaywalk has been at Keeneland since March 26 under the supervision of his son, Tyler. The younger Servis obtained his first career victory as a trainer at Keeneland on April 12.

“He has done a great job with my few horses and one of his own to train,” Servis said. “He has been on top of everything and done well with the media. He is very relaxed doing interviews. I am very proud of him.”