Virtually from the time that she could walk, Upper Marlboro native Lacey Gaudet knew that she would be destined to follow in the footsteps of her late father, Eddie Gaudet, and her mother, Linda Gaudet, as a trainer on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit.
Gaudet actually made her first visit to the winner's circle on a cold, winter day on Jan. 6, 1990 at the tender 18 months when her mother, Linda Gaudet, carried into the enclosure after Eddie Gaudet had saddled Leery Baba to a victory in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel Park that day. Eddie Gaudet, who began his career in racing as a jockey, won nearly 100 stakes during his career, including several graded ones, and now Lacey Gaudet is following a similar path to success.
One day after Christmas at Laurel Park, Lacey Gaudet sent out Dontletsweetfoolya (Jevian Toledo aboard) to capture the $100,000 Willa On The Move Stakes as the even-money favorite in 1:09.47 for the six furlongs. Now a four-year-old daughter of Stay Thirsty - all race horses turn one year older on New Year's Day regardless of their actual foaling date - Dontletsweetfoolya has won two six-figure stakes and five straight races overall now seems destined to compete in the Grade III, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel on Feb. 13.
"Ever since we drew the one hole, we were kind of dreading it, especially with all the weather coming in," Gaudet said after the Willa On The Move. "The track guys did a great job working this rail all day. We've had rain and cold weather and this rail is beautiful, so it did give us a little more confidence when we led her over to the paddock. Being on the inside we knew she was going to be pressed pretty hard and she just kept coming back."
In 2020, Gaudet sent out 168 runners, recording 33 winners and earnings just over $1 million. In her career through 2020, Gaudet has saddled 193 winners with earnings of $5.75 million from 1,310 starters. Thus far, John Jones, who earned just shy of $500,000 after Gaudet claimed him for $25,000, including a 40-1 shocker in the Mister Diz Stakes on the Laurel lawn, tops the earnings list of Gaudet trainees but Dontletsweetfoolya is has a chance to overtake him in 2021.
"I didn't tell Jevian anything," Gaudet said. "He rides this filly with confidence and he knows her well. When he got to the paddock I gave him a fist bump and told him it was up to him at that point. That's kind of what we've done the last few races and he gets her home."
Dontletsweetfoolya could potentially put her five-race win streak on the line in the Grade III, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel Park on Presidents' Day weekend. Her dad, Eddie Gaudet, won a handful of graded stakes during his career including the Grade II, $250,000 General George Stakes with Star Touch in 1991, a race typically offered on the same weekend and often on the same day as the Barbara Fritchie.
"That Presidents' Day weekend always means a lot to owners and trainers in Maryland," Gaudet said. "I know it has always meant a lot to our family. My dad won the General George with Star Touch and my mother got her first stakes winner as a trainer with Concealed Identity in the Campbell. I'm excited to see 'sweetie' go into the starting gate for the Fritchie."
Even during an abbreviated racing calendar - thoroughbred racing in Maryland was halted for two months at one stretch by the pandemic - Gaudet's trainees earned just over $1 million in 2020, one year after missing that milestone by roughly $40,000. In 2018, Gaudet trainees earned over $1.5 million and she garnered the Nancy Alberts Award by the Maryland Racing Media Association following that year.
Female trainers such as Mary Eppler, Linda Gaudet and Nancy Alberts helped open the door for the Lacey Gaudet and fellow conditioner, Brittany Russell, who could saddle Hello Beautiful in the Fritchie and Whereshetoldmetogo in the General George. Onlookers would not be surprised to see Dontletsweetfoolya and Hello Beautiful run one-two in the Fritchie.
"Brittany has really had an amazing last few years," Gaudet said. "She's had a baby and she's still out there in the mornings training horses. We went into the December stakes and we're skipping the [What A Summer] stakes this weekend. Hello Beautiful skipped the [Willa On The Move] stakes in December and she's running this weekend. But we're both expecting to be in the gate for the Fritchie and that will be exciting."