of Fame trainers H. Allen Jerkens and D. Wayne Lukas, along with
legendary track announcer Tom Durkin, were honored Friday in the second
annual "Red Jacket" ceremony in the winners' circle at Saratoga Race
Course to unveil individual bronze plaques commemorating their
and Durkin were presented with Saratoga red blazers by Chris Kay, CEO
and president of the New York Racing Association, Inc., to celebrate
their long and storied history at the track. Jerkens' son, Jimmy,
accepted the blazer on behalf of his father, who expressed his gratitude
from Florida's Gulfstream Park on a video shown on the HD screen in the
infield, and throughout Saratoga Race Course.
member of both the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and the Quarter
Horse Hall of Fame, Lukas has trained 25 Eclipse champions, more than
any other trainer in history. In addition to having won four Kentucky
Derbies, six Preakness Stakes and four Belmont Stakes, Lukas saddled the
winners of three editions of the Travers: Corporate Report (1991),
Thunder Gulch (1995) and last year's eventual 3-year-old champion Will
Take Charge. He also won the Saratoga training title six times.
don't think anyone receives an honor as distinguished as this without
help; you certainly don't do it on your own," said Lukas. "I'm really
proud of one thing at Saratoga; I was thinking back today, and led by
Todd [Pletcher] who is in a class all by himself, we have had these
young assistants who all came through our program and I'd like to
acknowledge them - Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart,
George Weaver, Mike Maker, Mark Hennig, and all of them are very active
here and doing very, very well. That's what makes me the proudest. I
don't think anyone gets here without those guys backing me all those
years. They were wonderful guys and I'm so proud of them."
who announced his retirement earlier this year, has called the races
for 43 years, 24 of them with the New York Racing Association. Many of
his most memorable calls came at Saratoga, including Holy Bull's victory
in the 1994 Travers, Rachel Alexandra's triumph in the 2009 Woodward
and the unforgettable New York-bred, Arrrrr. Including the Breeders'
Cup, which he called from its inception until 2005, and the Triple
Crown, which he called for 10 years, Durkin has called races at more
than 50 tracks in six countries.
you can see, I've had the privilege of getting the best seat in the
house for some of the most dramatic and exciting competitions of the
last 40 years, and it's with great gratitude that I accept the award
today," said Durkin. "I find it almost difficult to absorb being honored
in the same way as Allen Jerkens and D. Wayne Lukas. These two people
are at the very top of my list as being the most admired people in the
game. I am honored to share this honor with them."
legendary Jerkens, for whom the coveted Saratoga training title is
named, was elected to racing's Hall of Fame in 1975 at the age of 45,
then the youngest trainer so honored. After taking out his license in
1950, Jerkens fashioned a stellar career that was punctuated by some of
the biggest upsets in racing history including two over 1973 Triple
Crown winner Secretariat, with Prove Out in the Woodward at Belmont Park
and with Onion in the Whitney at Saratoga.
of Fame jockeys Angel Cordero, Jr., Jerry Bailey, and John Velazquez
were honored in last year's inaugural "Red Jacket" ceremony.
plaques for all will be displayed on the boards next to the Jockeys'
Silks porch at Saratoga as the Saratoga Red Jacket Walk of Fame.