Jerkens Strikes Again on Saratoga Showcase Day

HorseRacingNation.com
August 24, 2014 10:42am
If ever trainer Jimmy Jerkens was in the zone, it's now. The 55-year-old trainer, son of Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens, won the $200,000 Fleet Indian for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies with Star Grazing on Sunday in the inaugural Saratoga Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course.

 

The victory came one day after Jerkens ran 1-2 in the 145th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes with V.E. Day and Wicked Strong.

 

Star Grazing, a Chester and Mary Broman homebred, raced in fifth in the field of nine for six furlongs, moved down to the inside and into a long drive to beat Flipcup by three-quarters of a length. The daughter of Sky Mesa ran the 1 1/8-mile dirt race in 1:53.40.

 

"She had a nice prep a couple weeks ago," Jerkens said. "Having a race over this track means a lot."

 

Jerkens followed Star Grazing's victory two races later with a second-place finish with Effinex in the $250,000 Albany.

 

For the red-hot trainer, the day seemed like business as usual. Along with the Travers exacta, he also won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy with Wicked Strong on July 26.

 

Jerkens has a record of 9-4-2 from 23 starters for the meet. He is tops among trainers with 65 percent of his runners in the money. His $1,805,454 in earnings is second only to Todd Pletcher, who has had 22 winners from 109 starters and $2,390,688 in earnings.

 

Asked if he's ever experienced a run like this, Jerkens said, "Nah, not really, no. I remember when [2005 Breeders' Cup Mile winner] Artie Schiller was running, it was great. But this tops it all."

 

In other races on Saratoga Showcase Day, So Lonesome took an early lead and never looked back in a victorious return to the dirt, turning back a challenge from favored Captain Serious at the quarter-pole and going on to a four-length victory over Effinex in the 37th running of the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds.

 

Although he broke his maiden at the Spa a year ago on the main track, So Lonesome had raced exclusively on grass and synthetic surfaces this year. Following a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame on August 8, trainer Tom Bush selected the Albany for the Awesome Again colt's return to dirt and he responded with a solid effort, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17.

 

"The turf, I think, helped get the horse built up a bit," said Bush, who trains So Lonesome for Patricia Schuler. "He was always a lightly built colt, and he just needed a lot of time, a lot of training, and a lot of racing to get him tight enough. He moves much better now on the dirt than he did when he was a young horse. I think he's turned the corner. We're just happy to see him get back in the game and run like we know he can."

 

Sent off at 8-1, So Lonesome returned $20.80 for a $2 win bet and earned $150,000, nearly doubling his bankroll to $334,067. Overall, he is 4-1-2 from 10 starts.

 

Effinex headed Eye Luv Lulu for second, with 7-5 favorite Captain Serious checking in fourth. Completing the order of finish were Free Mugatu, Little Daddy, Empire Dreams, and Fox Rox.

 

Although Bush said a start on turf could be in So Lonesome's future, the main goal likely would be the $300,000 Empire Classic on October 18 on Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park.

 

Grade 1 winner Dayatthespa regained winning form in her second start of the year in the $150,000 Yaddo at 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares.

 

The Chad Brown-trained Dayatthespa made her seasonal debut in the one-mile De La Rose on August 2 at Saratoga, when she pressed a lively pace and opened up a lead in the stretch before yielding late to Filimbi.

 

The daughter of City Zip was noticeably fitter the second time around. She set a sensible pace over the "good" ground and repelled a challenge from Discreet Marq, whose past four starts all came at the Grade 1 level, to prevail by 2 ½ lengths.

 

"Javier [Castellano] rode a beautiful race on her," said Brown. "The race she had three weeks ago, you never know how running back is going to affect them. It was a benefit for her; she hadn't run in a long time going into the De La Rose. She was plenty fit today to run 1 1/16 miles."

 

Brown had cross-entered Dayatthespa in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa, run on the Travers Day undercard, but ultimately sided with the Yaddo despite the graded-stakes caliber field it drew.

 

"I think the race set up better for her today [than yesterday's Grade 2 Ballston Spa]," said Brown. "I'm sure the ground was firmer today, although it was listed as good. With all the warm weather, I'm sure it had less give in it [than yesterday]."

 

Dayatthespa, who covered the distance in 1:41.93 and returned $4.60 for a $2 win wager, will now be pointed to the Grade 1 First Lady on October 4 at Keeneland, according to Brown.

 

"The real goal when we put her back into training this year was the First Lady at Keeneland, and we worked backwards from there," said Brown. "We penciled these two races in a while ago. She made both and ran well in both. If everything is good, we'll take her to Keeneland - she loves it just as much as Saratoga."

 

Discreet Marq checked in second, 1 ½ lengths clear of Effie Trinket. Unbelievable Dream, Mah Jong Madness, and Miz Owell completed the order of finish.

 

King Kreesa set the pace and held off a late challenge from Lubash to win the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank by a head in his first start of 2014.

 

A graded stakes winner who was named New York-bred champion male older horse and male turf horse for 2013, King Kreesa cleared on the lead in the 1 1/16-mile race, setting fractions of 24.93 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.71 for the half over turf labeled "good."

 

Lubash, the 3-2 favorite, confronted King Kreesa at the top of the stretch and drew even with the pace-setter with a furlong to travel, but King Kreesa was resolute and regained the upper hand late under jockey Irad Ortiz's drive.

 

Off as the 8-5 second choice, King Kreesa returned $5.40 to win. He completed the distance in 1:42.07.

 

The West Point was King Kreesa's first start wearing a bar shoe on his right-front foot and for trainer David Donk, who took over training duties from Jeremiah Englehart. King Kreesa hadn't raced since finishing 12th in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile in December at Sha Tin.

 

"It was a long layoff, and I didn't have him, maybe, as ready as I'd liked to, but I was running out of time," said Donk. "The season is running short. One of Woody [Stephens'] quotes was, 'A good horse overcomes all trainers' and riders' mistakes.' He's a really good horse. He was a really good horse with Jeremiah [Englehart]; he did a great job with him."

 

King Kreesa, who is owned by Gerald and Susan Kresa, is 7-4-2 in 19 starts. He has earned $747,370, including $90,000 for his West Point win.

 

Notacatbutallama was third, with Barrel of Love and Street Game completing the order of finish. Hangover Kid and main-track-only entrant Sir Leslie were scratched.

 

Ralph Evans' Upstart showed himself an early leader among this year's New York-bred freshmen class with a last-to-front score in the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sunday at Saratoga.

 

The 6-5 favorite Bustin It broke well in front, setting fractions of 22.47, 45.62 and 1:09.86, followed in the early going by Tax Package and Bullheaded Boy. Upstart settled behind his four rivals just inside of Good Luck Gus. Guided by Jose Ortiz, the Flatter ridgling moved early in the turn, making up ground on the front-runner to kick past Bustin It by a well-timed length at the wire.

 

"I was hoping there was going to be more of a speed duel between the No. 4 [Bullheaded Boy] and the No. 5 [Bustin It]," Ortiz said. "The No. 5 broke so good and took the lead so easily. When I saw that, I figured out quick I needed to move a little earlier. By the quarter-pole I was driving already, but my horse was ready. I got there little by little."

 

The 3-2 second-choice finished the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.23, paying $5.10 for a $2 win bet.

 

Bullheaded Boy, Good Luck Gus and Tax Package competed the order of finish.

 

Initially, trainer Richard Violette Jr. was unsure of where to run the juvenile following his maiden-breaking win nine days ago, but he opted for a late nomination to the Funny Cide in preparation for a possible start in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 4 at Belmont Park.

 

"He's a serious horse," Violette said, "and if he comes out of it good, we have an extra week getting to the Champagne with a really good come-from-behind win off it, so it's pretty cool."

 

"We'll nominate to the [Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 4 at Keeneland], too," he added. "Basically the two-turn races are what you're supposed to do, but I think we'll probably stay home. This is a really good prep for anything we do. It worked out pretty good."

 

Myfourchix broke her maiden in style in the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for 2-year-old fillies, taking advantage of a swift early pace and closing through the stretch to win by three lengths over a tiring Hard to Stay Notgo.

 

Trained by Rick Schosberg for Clear Stars Stable, the Henny Hughes filly broke well from the No. 5 post and settled two lengths off fractions of 21.66 seconds for the quarter mile and 45.61 for a half set by 3-5 favorite Hard to Stay Notgo. Moving up on the turn when asked by jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Myfourchix had enough left to pass the front-runner and go on to complete the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:20.34.

 

"She got beat in her first start, no fault of her own," said Schosberg. "She broke a little slow from the rail and she rushed up, probably went in :21 and change, and fought as hard as she could. I said after the race, when we were a little bit disappointed, 'You'll never be disappointed in this filly again.'"

 

Sent off at 8-1 off a second-place finish as the favorite in her first start on July 30, Myfourchix returned $19.60. Purchased for $90,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale in April, she earned $120,000 today and has now amassed $134,600.

 

"She's a really good filly, and I think you'll be hearing more of her when we get to [Empire] Showcase Day [Belmont Park, October 18]," said Schosberg.

 

Finishing third, 10 ¼ lengths behind Hard to Stay Notgo, was Nonna Jo, with Evrybdymstgetstonz and Quick Reward finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Graeme Crackers was eased.

 

Source: NYRA

 

 

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