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Horse Racing Betting Picks - Giant Killer Slays

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 8/6/2012 5:51:51 PM

It’s been almost four decades since Allen Jerkens upset Secretariat in the Whitney, but he’s still cranking out winners in the Big Apple including last Saturday’s Grade 1 Prioress and online sports betting enthusiasts should know he’s not done yet.

After winning a Grade 3 in her last race at 29-1, Emma’s Encore proved it was no fluke taking the Prioress by a nose after being saddled by the 83-year-old Hall of Fame trainer known as the ‘Giant Killer’. 

Emma, who paid $12.40, did it by overcoming a key scratch when speed horse Jamaican Smoke was declared. The favorite Agave Kiss had her own way on a speed conducive track but still could not hold off the distaff freight train.

“Like the old days,” Jerkens said after the race and the old days were very good. He had not won a Grade 1 since 2007 but that is not because he forgot to train, it’s because the game has changed, his owners have gone by the way side and there is just new blood out there.

Harry Allen Jerkens has probably been referred to as the Giant Killer more often than Wilt Chamberlain was asked, ‘how’s the weather up there’. The New York born and raised octogenarian has been pulling the David and Goliath routine for decades.

Introduced to the horse betting game by his father, who liked to patch up broken-down horses, Allen gave up the ghost of being a race rider rather early and turned to training in 1950. He won his 1st race that year fittingly on the 4th of July when a runner named Populace scored at Aqueduct. A dozen years later fate would put Wall Street investor Jack Dreyfus, Jr., at his doorstop and a long association with Hobeau Farm began.

He developed some great runners for Hobeau including Prove Out, Duck Dance and Handsome Boy but a stout performer named Beau Purple provided Jerkens with his 1st favorite moment when he beat Kelso and Carry Back in the 1962 Suburban. Beau Purple went on to beat Kelso, who won Horse of the Year honors (‘60 through ‘64) 5 straight years, in the ‘62 Man o’ War and ‘63 Widener.

The wins vs. Kelso fueled the fire for Jerkens as upset king. The great Secretariat only lost 5 times in his brilliant career. Once in his green debut, then after he was disqualified while finishing 1st in the ‘72 Champagne, Next in the Wood Memorial preceding his Triple Crown assault and twice at the hands of Jerkens-trained runners.

Onion beat Secretariat in the ‘73 Whitney and Prove Out beat him later in the year in the Woodward.

Allen was the youngest trainer at the time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 at the age of 45. The stakes winners he has trained over the years reads like a who’s who of the sport.

Believe The Queen won the ‘84 Tom Fool. Devil His Due won the Gotham and Wood in ‘92 and the Pimlico Special, Suburban and Excelsior the next season. Missy’s Mirage won the First Flight in ‘91, the Shuvee, Hempstead and Gay Matelda in ‘92 and the Correction in ‘92 and ‘93. Sky Beauty parlayed the Adirondack to the Matron in ‘92, and then added the Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks and Alabama the next year.

What does one look for when encountering a Jerkens runner and trying to figure out what he’s doing in today’s race? Well, he wins at a high percentage when horses return off a layoff of 3 months or more.

When he claims a horse, follow the new face until he wins. It won’t be long.
When he drops a horse, stand up and take notice, and pay extra attention when he stretches a horse out to a route for the 1st time and adds Lasix to boot.

Over the years, I’ve seen Jerkens-trained horses do some incredible things. Once, I remember he had a horse that finished 4th or 5th going 1 1/4 miles return in a 6-furlong sprint 2 weeks later and win for fun.

Like fine wine, Jerkens is getting better with age. Never underestimate him.
In other racing news at Saratoga Joel Rosario, the leading rider in Southern California the last several years before shifting his tack to Saratoga, up and fired his agent Ron Eubanks last week.

Ron Anderson, who has handled legendary riders like Chris Antley, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens and Garrett Gomez, will take Rosario’s book.

For Anderson, the timing is right as the rider he had most recently, Alan Garcia, only won with one of his first 28 mounts at Saratoga.

Eubanks was shocked and not happy. His words in the New York Post, Eubanks: “I’ve had him 8 meets and he’s been leading rider 7 times and won $36 million in purses. He called me early in the week and told me he had bad news. I thought he hurt his foot playing baseball, instead he hired a guy whose jock is one for 30.”

It obviously stings, but look for Rosario to thrive because he is a good rider and because Anderson has deep contacts in the East. Online sportsbook bettors have to follow this pilot.

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