Del Mar Names David Jerkens Racing Secretary

Currently heading the racing office at Golden Gate Fields, he'll move south in June.

David Jerkens, currently the racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields, will relocate to Southern California in early June and assume the role of racing secretary at Del Mar, it was announced Jan. 30.

Jerkens, 35, will work in the racing department under Tom Robbins, the track's executive vice president for racing and industry relations, as well as its longtime racing secretary. Robbins will continue to work out of the seaside track's racing office, but will turn over the racing secretary duties to Jerkens.

Robbins will dedicate more time to other track assignments, including several national and international projects and committees that demand his attention. Additionally, Del Mar will hold a second fall meeting this year covering the month of November, putting more requirements on the track's racing office and its personnel.

"With the shift in the racing scene in Southern California and the racing picture in general across the country, the racing product has become more important than ever before in our business," Robbins noted. "Bringing on an enthusiastic and multi-talented racing man like David Jerkens to make us even stronger on the horse side became just about a necessity."

Like Robbins, Jerkens comes from an illustrious racing family. The native New Yorker is the son of Steve Jerkens, a New York-based trainer and one of the four children of Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens. David Jerkens' uncle, James Jerkens, is also a trainer of note with a pair of Breeders' Cup wins to his credit.

David Jerkens worked as a backstretch assistant to his father growing up, then attended college in New York and Florida before returning to the track in the New York Racing Association's racing office in 2000 as an entry clerk. Over the next five years he worked his way up to placing judge and stakes coordinator before heading west to serve as assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator for Sean Greely, then the racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields. At the end of 2011 Jerkens was named the Bay Area track's racing secretary.

"David is going to be a wonderful addition to our crew at Del Mar," said Joe Harper, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president and CEO. "He's a bright young man with a great feel for the game. His family history and his experience both back east and in California will translate well to our racing office. I know our horsemen will find him a first-rate guy to work with."

The current 101-day Golden Gate Fields meet is scheduled to run through June 15. Jerkens will write his final condition book for that session in mid-May. He and his wife, Abby McKee, presently live in San Francisco.

Since its founding in 1937, Del Mar has had nine previous racing secretaries. Robbins has had the longest run in that role with 25 summer seasons scheduling the track's programs, starting first in 1981.