Jerkens to give horse sense to Charles Town fans

November 13, 2005|By Larry Yanos

As part of its on-going educational series, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA) will conduct a seminar featuring three nationally known trainers on Nov. 21, at Charles Town Race & Slots.

New York-based conditioner Allen Jerkens heads the list of invitees, along with A. Ferris Allen III and Robbie Bailes - two trainers working mainly in Maryland.

The seminar will be an open forum, allowing the audience to ask questions of the trainers.

"It should be a great evening for horse racing followers, especially with a Hall of Famer like Allen Jerkens in attendance," said Virginia Thoroughbred Association Field Director Mark Deane. "He is one of the greatest trainers ever and we worked hard to get him. I know he'll provide a lot of insights into the sport of horse racing. He's one of the most respected trainers in the business."

Jerkens is a member of the Horse Racing Hall of Fame and is world famous for his numerous upsets, including to victories over Virginia-bred Secretariat with Onion and Prove Out.


Jerkens was New York's leading trainer in 1957, '62, '66, '69 and '98. In 1973 and '84, he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer.

In 1975, Jerkens, the youngest trainer ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, gained fame with his training titles and other famous upsets, including Beau Purple's three wins over Kelso and Handsome Boy's defeat of Buckpasser.

In 1994, he trained champion Sky Beauty and scored another famous upset with Wagon Limit in the 1998 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

In a brilliant training career which began in 1950, Jerkens has trained over 160 stakes winners.

"Just to sit there and absorb what Jerkens has to say will be a real treat," Deane said. "He has accomplished so much. He's practially a genius."

Allen and Balies have also enjoyed outstanding careers.

Allen, the all-time leading trainer at Virginia's Colonial Downs, has trained the winners of more than 1,500 races with earnings of more than $20 million - including Maryland Juvenile Championship winner Miracle Wood and Grade 2 stakes winner Passeggiata among many others.

Bailes has trained more than 500 winners for more than $8 million, including Withers Stakes Grade III winner and 2005 Preakness Stakes Grade I runnerup Scrappy T, Scootin Girl and Take Achance On Me among others.

Charles Town's seminar, which is $50 per person, begins at 6 p.m., and includes a buffet dinner and a cash bar. The speakers and a question-and-answer period starts at 7. Reservations are required.

For information, contact the Virginia Thoroughbred Association at 540-347-4313 or

Dashing competitors

Four of the top five finishers from last month's Breeders' Cup Sprint are among the 31 pre-entries for Saturday's Grade I $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

The Dash headlines the Fall Festival of Racing card, featuring eight added-money races, including three other six-figure races.

With nearly $1 million in purses, the day is the fourth largest date on the Maryland racing calendar behind the Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Special and Maryland Million.

Post time will be 12:15 p.m.

Attila's Storm and Elusive Jazz who finished fourth and fifth in the Grade I Sprint at Belmont Park are likely to run in the Dash's 16th running. Runner-up Taste Of Paradise and third-place finisher Lion Tamer might opt for Nov. 26's Cigar Mile on at Aqueduct.

Trainer Richard Dutrow, who won the Sprint with Silver Train, is expected to ship Grade I Vosburgh runner-up Tiger Heart to Laurel this week with former Maryland riding star Edgar Prado in the saddle.

Local star Gators N Bears will make his final career start for owner-trainer Leo Nechamkin. The five-year old, who will stand in 2006 at Maryland Stallion Station for $5,000 live foal, will run in his third consecutive Dash then be introduced to the public the next day at the Baltimore County farm.

The son of Stormy Atlantic has finished in the money in 24 of his 31 career starts with earnings in excess of $800,000.

Pony Tales

A charity roast and salute to legendary jockey Pat Day was held Saturday at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

The "What A Difference A Day Makes" dinner and roast honored Day ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 8,803 victories during his remarkable 32-year career. The total includes a victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee.

Day, who retired in August, is a four-time Eclipse Award winner - representing the nation's top jockey - a member of racing's Hall of Fame, and the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland.

The Laurel Park's 2006 winter stakes schedule has been approved by the Maryland Racing Commission.

The Maryland Jockey Club will offer 19 stakes races from Jan. 1-April 15 worth just under $2 million, highlighted by a pair of Grade II sprints on Presidents' Weekend.

The purses for Barbara Fritchie Handicap, a 7-furlong sprint for fillies and mares on Feb. 18, and the General George Handicap two days later, will be increased from $200,000 to $300,000 with the Breeders' Cup Fund contributing $75,000 to each race.

One new added money race has been added to the stakes program: The $85,000 Dahlia Stakes, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares on April 15, the final day of the stand.

Racings dates for 2006 are expected to be announced at the Dec. 13 meeting.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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