Jerkens Sending First Blush in Hutcheson

Edited track release
Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens pulled off an upset with First Blush in the six furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park on opening day, Jan. 3, and now is taking aim at Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II). The 3-year-old race will be contested at seven furlongs.

"He always runs well and I had an inkling he would run well in the Spectacular Bid," Jerkens said. "He's built like a sprinter, nice and blocky. He's put on a little weight since he's been down here and that's always good in a young horse. Also, the distance shouldn't be a problem since he's won at seven furlongs before. The Hutcheson looks like a good spot for him."

First Blush broke his maiden in a seven furlong race at Aqueduct on Oct. 31 after finishing second in a pair of maiden races at Belmont Park. He followed with a third place finish in the six-furlong Huntington Stakes that was run on a sloppy track at Aqueduct on Nov. 17.

Jerkens then saddled First Blush in the Spectacular Bid and the rest is history. The chestnut colt came from off the pace to win by a half-length. Since then he has been training well and worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 handily Sunday. It was the third fastest of 37 horses working that distance that day.

Trainer Cam Gambolati said he is on the fence with Cajun Beat, who is nominated to both the Fountain of Youth and Hutcheson, as well as an allowance race on the Saturday card. "He's training well and doing well," Gambolati said. "I just have to pick out the best spot for him."

Probables for the seven furlong Hutcheson are: J. & J. Iracane & Satish Sanan's Cajun Beat, Lee Battaglia & James P. Divito's Coach Jim Lee, Michael Gill's Crafty Guy, Irving & Marjorie Cowan's First Blush, Peachtree Venture's Lion Tamer, Edward P. Evans' Roaring Fever, Robert & Beverly Lewis' Scrimshaw, and Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey's Whywhywhy.