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Emma's Encore Has Jerkens Smiling

Emma's Encore edges Judy the Beauty in Prioress
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese

Allen Jerkens was all smiles Sunday morning outside his barn, where Emma’s Encore was resting after giving the Hall of Fame trainer his first Grade 1 victory since Miss Shop took the Personal Ensign in 2007.


“It’s always nice when you go home and you know the next year there’s going to be a jockey statue in front of the clubhouse,” said the 83-year-old Jerkens, referring to the tradition of honoring the Spa’s Grade 1 winners by having their silks painted on the jockey statues surrounding the fountain by the entrance.


A bay daughter of Congrats who fetched only $2,000 as a yearling, Emma’s Encore arrived in Jerkens’ barn at Gulfstream Park over the winter, having finished off the board in three starts as a 2-year-old at Hoosier Park, Kentucky Downs and Keeneland.


“All I know is the van man said, ‘You have a horse coming in,’” recalled Jerkens. “She looked OK. We were in no position to turn anybody down, anyway. It’s like I said all my life, with any of them, you never know what’s going to happen.


“Some of the ones you expect to be good never run, and others surprise you. I didn’t think [multiple graded stakes winner] Devil His Due was much of a horse until he started running. And I didn’t think Miss Shop would amount to much, either, and she won a Grade 1. You take what you can get.”


In her first start for Jerkens on February 2, Emma’s Encore was off a step slow but came on to finish third in a $50,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream; three weeks later she broke her maiden facing Florida-breds and next rallied from seventh to take an optional claimer on March 14.


“The second race she won in her life, she was shut off pretty good, but she still made it,” said Jerkens of Emma’s Encore, who earned her first graded stakes when she pulled off a 39-1 upset of the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 7 at Belmont Park.


The Prioress was also Jerkens’ first win of the meet, but the trainer said he was not sure if Emma’s Encore would return for the Grade 1, $500,000 Test on August 25.


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Older Comments about Emma's Encore Has Jerkens Smiling ...

Allen Jerkens has always been one of my favorite trainers. One of the great old timers still in the game. I just found a great quote about him. "Allen Jerkens could train a pit bull to meow".
Icy. No problem. Put a win in for myself on her. Glad you did well on Emma.
Buckpasser thanks for replying to my query regarding AJ as I remembered the horse Emma’s Encore, and it cut my losses fr the day.
I have nothing but complete respect for the Giant Killer. He is one of the sports greatest trainers. Best of luck with Emma.

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