08/04/2012 5:30PM

Saratoga: Emma's Encore nails Judy the Beauty on the wire in Prioress

Barbara D. Livingston
Junior Alvarado eases up on Emma's Encore after just getting up for a nose victory in the Prioress.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The scene was emotional in the winner’s circle Saturday at Saratoga when Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens Jr. greeted his 3-year-old filly Emma’s Encore following her last to first nose decision over Judy the Beauty in the Grade 1 Prioress.

The legendary Jerkens was cheered loudly by a legion of adoring fans after registering his first Grade 1 win since Miss Shop won the Personal Engisn five years earlier. The victory was also the second in succession for Emma’s Encore, a daughter of Congrats, who captured the Grade 3 Victory Ride at odds of 39-1 at Belmont Park on July 7.

As was the case in the Victory Ride, Emma’s Encore trailed the field under her red hot jockey Junior Alvarado as the 4-5 Agave Kiss cut out 22.15 and 44.64-second splits on the lead. Alvarado, who won both stakes here Friday, including the Grade 2 Honorable Miss aboard C C’s Pal, swung Emma’s Encore four wide to commence her bid entering the turn after which the pair wore down the hard-luck Judy the Beauty in the final stride.

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Judy the Beauty prompted the early pace, overtook the tiring Agave Kiss about 40 yards from the wire and just failed to last. Agave Kiss finished a tiring third, her second consecutive defeat following six straight victories to open her career.

Emma’s Encore paid $12.40 after completing six furlongs in 1:09.35. As is tradition at Saratoga, Emma's Encore's owners Brenda Mercer and Peter Berglar will be honored for their Grade 1 win by having their silks painted on a jockey statue by the entrance to the track following the conclusion of the season.

"Just like the old days," said Jerkens, who is 83. "We’re going to get a jockey in front of the clubhouse again. I always like to get a jockey in front of the clubhouse with our colors on it. I think she improved a little, she had to run her very best today, he rode her very good, strong. Nothing was in her favor today looking at the late scratch and it seemed speed was holding on pretty good. Everything has to go well.” 

Jerkens admitted to getting a little emotional after the race.

"The support of the fans, that’s nice. That’s what breaks me up," said Jerkens. "It goes back to the days of Onion, Beau Purple, Admiral Vee.”

Jerkens said he’s doubtful Emma’s Encore would return for the Grade 1 Test on Aug. 25.

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Junior Alvarado outriding Joel Rosario!! Like that!!
mrm More than 1 year ago
Some credit should be given to the person who bought the filly for $2,000.
Robert Yunger Jr. More than 1 year ago
You are still "The Giant Killer" at Saratoga Mr Jerkens! You keep making this great sport exciting for all of us.We should all be thankful for having you show how it should be done. Congrats on an awesome win!
nicholas More than 1 year ago
Bobby Frankel thought The Chief was the best. Enough said. Bill Mott is the closest to him in my opinion.
pathagan More than 1 year ago
Long Live The Chief!
Allen Joyner More than 1 year ago
I had Emma last month across the board when she was 39-1, had her again today. The Chief is the greatest trainer of my lifetime, and I go back to the days of Kelso, Carry Back and Beau Purple. The man is a living legend. Won his first race in 1950 at age 21...and still winning races, and G-1's 62 years later. Amazing.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Takeaways: 1) Emma's Encore is the real deal. This is the 4th six furlong race that she has won in a row. This race confirmed her Victory Ride win. 44.64s half mile at Saratoga is a lot slower than 44 flat at Belmont. Pace may not matter with this hard closing sprinter as can be seen from her first two wins at Gulfstreams - both races had slow pace therefore resulting in fairly low Beyer speed figures. This is just one of the many reasons that the BSF shouldn't be relied upon when handicapping graded stakes races. 2) I'm going to believe that the connection will skip the 7 furlong G1 Test. That race on paper looks to fit her even better, but I'm going to trust the Chief - he thinks this filly does not really want to go further than 6 furlong. She lost ground badly in both her previous 7f races. 3) The Rudy brew is not as effective against graded stakes competition, and he knew it. Rudy Rodriguez picked the spots very conservatively for Agave Kiss. The good news is that she is a NY bred. There will be plenty of rich races for her to run in. If she stays healthy she should easily surpass $1mil in earnings.
Anthony Marabella More than 1 year ago
Great race. Rudy even said in pre race interview it was hot at last loss. It was hot today. Emma even dodged another horse at the top of the stretch - really strong drive. 6 furlongs is the right distance for her.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
How come everyone comes out to jump on the band wagon after a win. Two days ago I was the only one backing Mr. Jerkens (CHIEF) and this filly. Really sad that everyone all over Baffert blogs, as well as Pletcher, O'Neil and others. This man has forgotten more then they may ever learn. He's a horseman, not a warehouse manager.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
That has nothing to do with Baffert vs. Allen Jerkens. It's purely because the Haskell and the Travers are much more popular races than the Prioress and the Victory Ride.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I guess. But you see my point? When racing needs a boost, we need more articles like this showing the class is still here as well as the OLD SCHOOL HORSEMAN who made the game what it is. The articles praising the wrong guys get too much focus.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Best horseman in the country and a class act. Congratulations. Very deserving. Great filly as well.
DrSmoke120 More than 1 year ago
Allen you are the best, so happy too see you win a stales in,person and to have a few On it to boot!
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
First time I really wasn't upset that my pick got nailed at the wire, loved seeing The Chief back in the winners circle, especially at the Gr.1 level