Jerkens Marathon Asks Unique Question Of 11 Entrants Saturday At Gulfstream

Saturday’s $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Gulfstream Park will be a journey into the unknown for the vast majority of its 11 entrants, who will be asked to run two miles for the first time in their lives.

The Jerkens, a two-mile turf marathon that honors the memory of the beloved Hall of Fame trainer, will highlight Saturday’s 11-race program at the Hallandale Beach, Fla. track. The $75,000 Tropical Park Derby and the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks and will kick off the sequence of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 that will offer a $400,000 jackpot guarantee.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. will saddle High Noon Rider with the knowledge that the 8-year-old gelding has a two-mile victory on his 55-race resume, but he still has a big question heading into the Jerkens.

“He’s won at two miles already at Presque Isle, but it was a much different class than he’ll be running against Saturday,” said Joseph, whose trainee is rated second in the morning line at 9-2 in a most competitive renewal of the Jerkens.

GenStar Thoroughbreds’ High Noon Rider, who has won 15 races and more than $600,000 in earnings, captured a two-mile starter optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths in October 2019. While the victory came over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface, the versatile gelding captured a 1 ½-mile starter handicap on turf at Laurel Park in his previous race.

“The owner wants to give him a shot in this race. I kind of believe he’s best at a mile or a mile and an eighth, but he loves Gulfstream and he has won at two miles,” Joseph said. “We’ll give it a try. He’s in good form.”

High Noon Rider is coming off a fast-closing victory in the 1 1/16-mile victory in the Claiming Crown Emerald over Gulfstream Park’s turf course, over which he has won six of 10 starts.

“He’s coming off his best race and he loves Gulfstream,” Joseph said. “Those are the two reasons why I’m willing to give it a try.”

Edgard Zayas, who was aboard for the Emerald score, has the return call.

Goldigo Racing LLC, Rick Gold and Mark Mathiesen’s Muralist is untested at two miles but will be saddled for the first time by a trainer with a record of marathon excellence. Among Brendan Walsh’s growing list of accomplishments are victories in the Marathon (G2), a 1 ¾-mile race on dirt that was formerly a Breeders’ Cup event but is still run on World Championships weekend. Walsh visited the Santa Anita winner’s circle with Cary Street in 2014 and Scuba in 2016.

Muralist, a 4-year-old gelded son of Street Sense, won two of nine starts in Southern California before finishing a troubled fifth in the 1 5/8-mile Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) on Breeders’ Cup Weekend at Keeneland. Trainer Dan Blacker returned to his Southern California base, while Muralist remained behind in Walsh’s care.

Paco Lopez is scheduled to ride Muralist for the first tie Saturday.

 

West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ Focus Group enters the Jerkens as a graded-stakes winner over the Gulfstream Park turf course but will also be returning from a 10-month layoff. The 6-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding has been out of action since finishing seventh in the March 29 Pan American (G2), a race the Christophe Clement-trained gelding won the year before over the Gulfstream course.

Focus Group, who will return as a gelding, will be ridden by Junior Alvarado.

Trainer Michael Maker is represented by four horses in the Jerkens, including David Staudacher’s Conviction Trade, the 4-1 morning-line favorite who will be ridden by defending two-time Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr.; Michael Dubbs’ Hieroglyphics, Paradise Farms Corp. and Staudacher’s Treasure Trove, and William Butler’s Dante’s Fire.

Clear Vision, Tintoretto, Cowtown and Sir Anthony round out the field.

The post Jerkens Marathon Asks Unique Question Of 11 Entrants Saturday At Gulfstream appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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