Prince right cure for Jerkens
Trainer sends horse into Fourstardave after having heart surgery last month
If your name is Jerkens, there is no better therapy for a health problem than the horse.
Sound corny? Maybe. But not if your last name is Jerkens.
Jimmy Jerkens, the son of the late Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, has been around horses all his life. It made all the sense in the world that he would feel better if he was around a barn full of thoroughbred race horses.
That is exactly what he did. Four days after undergoing heart surgery last month, Jerkens was back with the horses at his Belmont Park barn. And he has been right in the middle of the operation when the barn moved north to Saratoga Race Course at the end of July.
The 59-year-old trainer will saddle Delta Prince in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Fourstardave, at a mile on the inner turf course. Jerkens says the 5-year-old horse looks good as he gets ready to run in just his second race since closing day of the 2017 Saratoga
More importantly, Jerkens feels good. That’s something he could not say at the start of July when a stress test resulted in same-day surgery that saw two stents put in his body to clear blocked arteries.
“I am feeling good. Finally,” Jerkens said outside his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track earlier this week. “I wasn’t doing good for awhile. The medication I was on wasn’t right. I was on some high blood pressure stuff that was messing me up pretty good.”
Since the surgery and new medicine, Jerkens is a new man. He smiles.
“I’m not walking around like a zombie,” he said.
Jerkens, like his dad before him, has always put his full attention, all his energy to his horses.
When he was laid up in a Long Island hospital for a spell, it was good for him.
“The funniest thing when I was in the hospital, I was there by myself and I had a lot of times on my hands,” Jerkens said. “A lot of stuff popped into my head and I was able to concentrate on stuff and it worked out pretty good.”
Most of the things Jerkens was thinking about had to deal with his horses. Naturally.
“When you’re (at the barn), you get so many visitors ... you get so distracted, you can’t think,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good to be away. It’s the damndest thing; I never realized it until I was sitting in the damn hospital.”
One of the horses he was thinking about was Delta Prince, who is the 4-1 third choice on the Fourstardave morning line. Delta Prince, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, is coming off a 13/4-length score in the Grade II Prince
Edward Stakes in Canada on June 30. That was his first start since finishing third in the Grade III Bernard Baruch here on closing day of 2017.
Jerkens said that Delta Prince did not have any major issues following the Baruch. He said he stopped on him because the horse was sore and needed time to heal up. Now, he’s healed up.
The biggest concern Jerkens has heading into the Fourstardave is the condition of the inner turf course. After plenty of rain the last few weeks, it was labeled “good” on Friday.
“Let’s hope it’s not too soft,” Jerkens said of Delta Prince, who caught a yielding course in the Baruch. “He seems to struggle a little bit. I’m hoping it’s not that soft. It’s soft already.”
Heart to Heart, trained by Brian Lynch, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the field of six. He was last seen in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile and finished second, beaten a neck by Hunt. Heart to Heart, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, has won both of his career starts at Saratoga, including a front-running win in the Bernard Baruch last year.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens, with Delta Prince, had surgery last month to insert stents to clear blocked arteries.