04/16/2014 2:04PM

Allen Jerkens enjoying son's Kentucky Derby run

Barbara D. Livingston
Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong is trained by Jimmy Jerkens, son of Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Allen Jerkens doesn’t have a Kentucky Derby horse, but he does have a big rooting interest in the race: Wicked Strong, who is trained by Allen’s son Jimmy and rallied to beat Samraat and Social Inclusion in the Wood Memorial.

The Wood represented a big turnaround in form for Wicked Strong, who finished ninth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull and fourth in an optional-claiming race here in his two previous starts. Wicked Strong came from sixth place to win the Wood by 3 1/2 lengths over Samraat.

“I felt a little confident the way he was moving in the Wood, and then for a split second, when he turned for home, it looked like that was as far as he was going to get,” Allen Jerkens said. “And then, all of a sudden, he came on again. He seemed to be in a bad frame of mind, somehow, when he ran down here this winter, but I felt pretty good before the Wood after they showed a picture of him on the television and he looked pretty happy with his pony.”

Jerkens, who has a dozen horses bedded down locally, including the top 3-year-old filly House Rules, said he hasn’t had much discussion with his son since the Wood.

“He’s got enough on his mind without talking to me,” he said. “But if he needs some advice, he knows he can always call.”

Jerkens said he remains undecided whether he’ll return to Belmont this spring or remain stabled at Gulfstream Park.

“Right now, we’re scheduled to head north at the end of the month,” said Jerkens, who is pointing House Rules to the Acorn Stakes on Belmont Day. “But if they were to make a deal with Calder and run four days a week here, I’d considering staying.”

D'Funnybone More than 1 year ago
Can't believe the Chief is still going strong at his age. A true horseman, who always entered his horses where they belonged, not over their heads for his own glory. Gotta be tough for his son(s) to try to live up to their Dad's status. Good luck to Jimmy J. in the 'Derby, i'll be rooting for him.
Earl Soames More than 1 year ago
The Giant Killer!!! Onion defeats Secretariat Prove Out defeats Secretariat Beau Purple defeats Kelso Handsome Boy defeats Buckpasser Step Nicely defeats Forego Group Plan defeats Wajima Any many more!
William More than 1 year ago
hail to 'THE CHIEF"
Henry Bee More than 1 year ago
Always had a difficult time catching the Chief.
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
I remember when he had Sensitive Prince (undefeated) going in the Derby against Affirmed and Alydar. back in 1978. The Chief spent a lot of time with the Prince prior to the Derby. He had the lead for about 6f , then fell back. A nice colt, but a notch below the top two.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Broke the mold where Mr Jerkens is concerned. Would be great to see Jerkens family win The Derby.
Helene Beides More than 1 year ago
Chief the greatest trainer of all time!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
A proud Poppa watches on...