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Emma's Encore Targets Hurricane Bertie

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

Brenda Mercer and Peter Berglar’s 4-year-old filly Emma’s Encore ran a big race to finish second in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park going six furlongs on Jan. 19 for Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens in her first start since October at Keeneland.

Emma’s Encore breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:04 2/4 at Gulfstream Thursday morning as she is kept on edge for a start next in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at 6 ½ furlongs on Sun., Feb. 10.

“That’s the plan,” said Jerkens Wednesday afternoon. “I thought she ran a good race (Sunshine Millions). She got in a little trouble when she was making her move. That’s just the way she runs (off the pace).”

A Florida-bred daughter of Congrats, Emma’s Encore ran four times at Gulfstream early last year, finishing third before breaking her maiden and scoring in an allowance race sprinting. She then finished eighth behind Grace Hall trying to stretch out to two turns in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

Turned back to sprints in New York last spring, Emma’s Encore got good winning the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in early July before her biggest victory in the Prioress Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in early August. In two starts after that she finished sixth with trouble in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) and eighth in the TCA Stakes (G2) run on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

Jerkens has previously sent out the winner of the Hurricane Bertie three times in the eight editions of the race, beginning with the first in 2005 with 8-year-old Lilac. The other two wins came with Joseph P. Shields, Jr.’s outstanding sprint stakes filly Any Limit, who won the race in 2007 and again in 2009.


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