When I Am Jane Dough swung five wide in the upper stretch at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 31 and began charging for a half-length win in the Tomball Distaff, the toteboard said her odds were 2-1. But if you'd asked owner/breeder Rose Chandler on the night of April 3, 2011 whether the filly would be in that position, the prospect looked more like a longshot.
Strawberry Smile, 2011 Texas Thoroughbred Broodmare of the Year, had earned Chandler the state's 2011 Breeder of the Year title but encountered a breach birth as she tried to deliver her foal by My Golden Song.
“Elgin Vet Clinic called and advised us of the problems Smile was having, and all I could think of was to save the mare, and certainly the baby, too, if at all possible,” said Chandler.
Veterinarians worked for hours to save the mare and foal, and after a very long night, Chandler got a call from longtime friend and veterinary technician Jane Wallace saying it looked like the pair would pull through.
“The first thing I thought of was how grateful I was, and secondly how much 'dough' that would be!” said Chandler, who wanted to name the horse after the technician who had spent so many hours caring for her. “I coupled Jane and Dough, hence I Am Jane Dough.”
I Am Jane Dough now has three wins from 11 starts after getting her maiden victory last summer. The Danny Pish trainee took some time to grow into her gangly frame but came to the Tomball off a closing runner-up effort in the San Jacinto Jan. 16.
“Unfortunately I was unable to be in Houston for her big win in the Tomball, but watched it via computer,” said Chandler. “As before all races, I prayed for her safety and the well-being of all the athletes competing … then I geared up to yell her to the finish line. When at the races with friends, few stand beside me since I pretty much do the running for my 'kids.' I Am Jane Dough is similar to Skip A Smile in delivering a 'cardiac' finish.”
I Am Jane Dough is now the only Thoroughbred in training for Chandler, who keeps her breeding stock at home on Chandler Ranch in Luling, Texas. Chandler is a lifelong horsewoman who grew up around livestock and became hooked on the thrills of the racetrack. She and husband Wendell started racing and breeding Quarter Horses in the late 1970s and transitioned into Thoroughbreds through the past decade with great success.
The couple had a banner year in 2011, when they had two geldings receive regional Horse of the Year honors from their respective breed organizations: Thoroughbred Skip A Smile was named Aged Champion and Horse of the Year at four, while 3-year-old G1 winner Acorn was named as Texas Quarter Horse Association's 2011 Champion Aged Gelding of the Year.
Skip A Smile, a half brother to I Am Jane Dough, proved successful in state-bred stakes races, picking up seven wins at that level in his 28-race career under Steve Asmussen. The gelding left the track at six and now enjoys a life of turnout with Acorn at Chandler's farm.
Though the Chandlers at one time had some 20 broodmares on their farm, they have reduced their stock and will foal out just two this year. After her difficulty in delivering I Am Jane Dough, Chandler retired Strawberry Smile from breeding.
“Strawberry Smile is the sweetest mare in the world,” Chandler told Sam Houston's publicity department earlier this year. “She really thinks she's 'people.'”
The 19-year-old mare has developed a taste for some interesting treats: beer and baloney sandwiches, which are also a favorite of Skip A Smile. I Am Jane Dough isn't sampling local brews just yet (though Chandler ensures she gets plenty of carrots during her vacations at the farm); she's got work ahead.
Chandler expects I Am Jane Dough will start next in the Jersey Lily on Feb. 28.
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