With family patriarch Allen Jerkens still in the intensive care unit across the street at Aventura Hospital, wife Elisabeth and son James saddled the Hall of Famer's first 2001 Gulfstream starter to a victory in the sixth race on Sunday Jan 7. Ridden by Julio Espinoza, Fiddle paid $48.
"He'll be shaking his fist when he hears about this one," joked Elisabeth Jerkens, "He wanted to come here very much today."
Jerkens has been hospitalized since Dec. 23 when, complaining of severe stomach pains, he was rushed into the hospital and diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Although the improvement has been slow, his wife notes that he has made remarkable strides in the past few days.
"He will be standing for the first time today and out of intensive care in a couple of days more," she said. "He should be able to talk to everybody soon."
She adds that the long-term prognosis for the 71-year-old to return to training is excellent. "I told him that he'd have to train to get back the way that Kelly Kip did," Mrs. Jerkens laughed.