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Thursday, November 13, 2008


HALL OF FAMER H. ALLEN JERKENS RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL


Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens’ first order of business after being released Wednesday morning from Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation Center was to visit his barn at Belmont Park.

“He came home, and said, ‘I’d like to see the horses’,” said his wife, Elizabeth. “We drove him to the barn and he sat on the bench outside, and they brought out every single one of the horses for him.”


Jerkens, 79, was admitted to Long Island Jewish Hospital in New Hyde Park last month with shortness of breath, then underwent surgery to repair two heart valves on October 20 and had a pacemaker installed eight days later. Although he plans on visiting his barn regularly, it will be some time before he ventures out aboard his stable pony, Circus.

“They don’t really recommend it, because of the pacemaker,” said Allen Jerkens. “We’ll have to figure out something.”

Although he did not get a racing channel in his room (he said he was more upset about not being able to get the Turner Movie Classic channel) Jerkens met daily with assistant trainer Fernando Abreu, and has been following his horses closely.

Saturday, Whirling Agatha ($8.20) gave Jerkens his first winner of the Aqueduct meet, closing from last to win the first race by 4 1/4 lengths. It was Jerkens’ first victory since Different Drummer won the second at Belmont on October 24; his other winner during the Fall Championship Meet was Merchant Marine, who won the overnight Devil Diver Stakes on September 7.

“We haven’t been setting the world on fire,” said Jerkens. “Even at Saratoga, we won only a few races.”

Among those were Joseph Shields’ Any Limit, who added the Grade 2 Honorable Miss to her earlier win in the Grade 2 First Flight. Sixth to Indyanne in her most recent start, the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America over Polytrack at Keeneland on October 4, the 5-year-old mare is being pointed toward the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap at the Big A on Friday, November 28 -- the day after Thanksgiving -- during HolidayFest.

Jerkens said he may start Mrs. Leverett Miller’s So Glitzy in the Top Flight as well. The four-year-old daughter of Gilded Time took nearly a year to break her maiden, after which Jerkens suggested to her owner the filly be retired. Fortunately, Miller had other ideas and So Glitzy came back to win her next race and most recently finished third to Altesse in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm.

“She had that big race up at Saratoga, too,” said Jerkens of So Glitzy, who returned $38.40 in winning an allowance on July 25.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Jerkens and his wife Elizabeth plan to head, as usual, to Florida for the winter. While racing doesn’t begin at Gulfstream Park until the New Year, Jerkens plans on running at least some at Calder Race Course in December.

“The purses may be a little bigger at Gulfstream but you get 12-horse fields,” said Jerkens, ever the pragamatist. “At Calder, you’re running against six or seven.”


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