Prince right cure for Jerkens

Trainer sends horse into Fourstar­dave af­ter hav­ing heart surgery last month

Albany Times Union - - SPORTS - By Tim Wilkin

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.

Skip Dick­stein / Times Union

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens, with Delta Prince, had surgery last month to in­sert stents to clear blocked ar­ter­ies.

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