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Jerkens Has Emma's Encore Fresh and Ready

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

Emma’s Encore tuned up for her first start against her elders in the Gallant Bloom Handicap with a five-furlong breeze on Thursday at Belmont.

 

Unraced since coming off the pace to win Saratoga’s Grade 1 Prioress on August 4, Emma’s Encore was clocked in 59.17 seconds, the quickest of four moves at the distance.

 

“I thought she’d go a little slower,” said her Hall of Fame trainer, Allen Jerkens. “She’s funny. If you take too much hold of her, she shakes her head and stuff. In the afternoon [her riders] don’t have any trouble. Of course, you don’t have any trouble rating a horse behind a 22 [second opening quarter-mile] or 21 and change.”

 

Emma’s Encore, owned by Brenda Mercer and Peter A. Berglar, has won two straight, with a 39-1 upset in Belmont’s Grade 3 Victory Ride in July preceding her Prioress score. She’ll face established older horses like reigning Champion Female Sprinter Musical Romance and Grade 1 Ballerina winner Turbulent Descent in the Gallant Bloom.

 

“We’re going to have to [try older fillies and mares] pretty soon, anyway,” said Jerkens. “What are we going to do? You’re not going to win all of them, so you try hard and do the best you can do.”

 

Jerkens added that jockey Rosie Napravnik will take over for injured Junior Alvarado aboard Emma’s Encore.

 

Go Unbridled, who was scratched out of Sunday’s John Hettinger, could make her next start in a New York-bred stakes or the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational on September 29, Jerkens said.

 

“We might wait for the next New York-bred [stakes], or if it’s going to be a real small field [in the Beldame] then we might try to get in,” said Jerkens. “They might invite us and we can take a chance.”

 

Go Unbridled, a two-time stakes winner against New York-breds on dirt, was set to make her turf debut in the Hettinger but was scratched when the course came up yielding.

 

“If it wouldn’t have been so soft then we might have run,” said Jerkens. “You just get feelings about things; you can’t always explain them all.”

 

 

 

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