Jerkens Puts Two Longshots in Florida Stakes

(from track report)
Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens pulled off an upset with First Blush in the Spectacular Bid Stakes (gr. III) on opening day (Jan. 3) at Gulfstream Park and will try to pull off a couple more surprises when he saddles horses in two stakes races this weekend at the South Florida racetrack.

Jerkens will tighten the girth on Joseph Allen's Saint Verre in the Hal's Hope on Saturday and will saddle Preferred Option in the $100,000 The First Lady Handicap (gr. III) which is for fillies and mares and will be run over six furlongs on Sunday.

"He's kind of a hard horse to figure," Jerkens said of Saint Verre. "He runs well at times and he'd especially like it if it were muddy. He won a stakes (Cliff Hanger Handicap on Oct. 11) at The Meadowlands in the mud."

Preferred Option is a speedy filly that has won a couple of allowance races during her career and Jerkens admits he's taking a shot with her, "She's got speed and the race doesn't look like it's coming up that tough so we might as well give her a chance."

It was for good reason that Jerkens gained the reputation as "Giant Killer." Among his many surprise winners in important races, twice he upset the great Secretariat with horses named Onion and Prove Out and he defeated the great gelding Kelso three times in stakes races.