He's Back: Jerkens Saddles First Winner Since Return

Allen Jerkens saddled his first winner since a life-threatening illness when first-time starter Shooting Party captured a maiden special weight at Gulfstream on Sunday.

"You always need reassurance in this business," said the 72-year-old Hall Of Fame trainer, "No matter how many times you've won, every day you've got to prove your wings."

Jerkens was hospitalized from Dec. 23 though Feb.9 with acute pancreatitis, and has just recently returned to his daily routine, which includes significant time on horseback. Though he didn't make it to the winner's circle, he watched the filly's win from an observation stand overlooking the track's backstretch.