Photo: Bill Vassar - Golden Gate Fields
Just shy of three years after he took the post of racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields, David Jerkens is once again moving on to a new adventure.
This November would have marked the three year anniversary for Jerkens, who moved from Stakes Coordinator to Racing Secretary at GGF, but instead he will be spending it in Southern California as the new racing secretary at Del Mar.
Jerkens will be replacing Tom Robbins, who has been the racing secretary there since 1981. Robbins will work alongside Jerkins as the Director of Racing, but will focus more on other aspects of the track with things like the added dates, turf course renovation and stabling issues all on the front burner.
Jerkens is expected to be ready for Del Mar to open its newly acquired 37-day meet on July 17th.
“This is such a great opportunity for me,” Jerkens said. “ I’m thrilled to be part of the team at a premiere track like Del Mar. But I can’t say enough about my crew and the people at Golden Gate Fields. I have enjoyed the horseman, trainers, agents and jockeys at Golden Gate and I think my duties over the past three years has prepared me for the next challenge.”
Despite the obvious perks, Jerkens says the decision was far from a no-brainer.
“It took some time to make this decision, “ Jerkens said. “ They contacted me and asked if I was interested. My wife and I weighed the pros and cons. We have been in this area for nine years and it’s not that easy to just decide to leave. It wasn’t as easy as people think.”
Since becoming an agent this summer, I have had the chance to see the inner workings of the racing office. I will tell you, being a racing secretary is no easy job. No matter what races you write or which ones you choose to run on a certain day, you never make everyone happy. Juggling the Jerry Hollendorfers of the world with the trainer that has just three horses, all plays into the decisions you have to make.
Jerkins has handled the GGF horseman with fairness and respect and I’m sure he will land on his feet and be successful in his move from “ Where the Bay Comes to Play” to “ Where the Surf Meets the Turf.”
Former GGF Apprentices Making Waves
Apprentice jockeys Irving Orozco and Jose Delgadillo never raced against each other at Golden Gate Fields but the two of them have a few things in common. Both won their first career race at Golden Gate and now both are making a name for themselves at different venues.
Orozco (left) loses his bug later this month, but right now, he is making his case to build business at Santa Anita as a journeyman.
The 20-year-old is currently in sixth place in the Santa Anita jockey standings with 14 wins and his 99 mounts is third best of all riders at the meet. At the recently concluded ‘final” meet at Betfair Hollywood Park, Orozco struggled, winning just 5 times in 66 mounts. However, he started to catch fire over the final two weeks and carried that momentum into the beginning of Santa Anita.
Delgadillo rode at GGF for four months in early 2013 and rode 4 winners in 88 starts. H then decided to go back down to Southern California where he wanted to ride with his jockey father Agapito Delgadillo. The two did get to ride in a race together May 3rd at Hollywood Park (with Agapito finishing ahead of Jose). After just four races, the younger Delgadillo moved to Parx Race Course in Philadelphia where he has excelled.
Since he left, he has chalked up 63 wins racing at five different tracks including Parx, Penn National, Laurel, Monmouth and Delaware Park. Currently he is tied for third in the standings in the young meet at Parx and is often riding at both Parx and Penn in the same day.
Baze Best in the World
Much has been made of the race for the most wins in racing between North America’s best Russell Baze and South American legend Jorge Ricardo. The only two riders to crack the 12,000 win mark have been trying to put up numbers that the other can’t keep up with.
Until November, Ricardo had a decided edge over Baze, but an injury put him on the shelf for two months and Baze took advantage. As of January 24th, shortly after Ricardo returned to racing, Baze held a 36 win advantage (12,144-12,108). It is hard to track Ricardo’s wins, but since that day Baze has reeled off 11 wins in 22 mounts.