05/16/2017 1:47PM

Saratoga renames King’s Bishop Stakes to honor Allen Jerkens

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Barbara D. Livingston
The New York Racing Association has honored the late H. Allen Jerkens by renaming the King's Bishop Stakes in his honor.

The Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga has been renamed the H. Allen Jerkens, honoring the iconic Hall of Fame trainer who died in 2015, the New York Racing Association announced Tuesday.

The King’s Bishop, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, will be run Aug. 26 on the same card as the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes. The 40-day Saratoga meet runs from July 21-Sept. 4.

“Allen Jerkens is a name that is synonymous with all that is great about racing at New York Racing Association tracks,” Chris Kay, NYRA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “It is an honor for NYRA to be able to pay tribute to his accomplishments and contributions with the renaming of the King’s Bishop to the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial.”

Jerkens, who won 3,859 races and was known for pulling off major upsets during his near seven-decade training career, actually trained King’s Bishop for Bohemia Stable for his 4- and 5-year-old seasons, winning the Grade 1 Carter and Fall Highweight with the son of Round Table.

Saratoga is the second track that will have a race named in honor of Jerkens. In January 2015 – two months before Jerkens died – Gulfstream Park ran the inaugural H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf race.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who worked for his father for a long time before going out on his own, called the renaming of the King’s Bishop for his father apropos.

“He was a big part of New York racing for 50-plus years, so it’s a big deal,” Jimmy Jerkens said. “He’s certainly deserving of it, and if they were going to rename a race, it would make sense that they use the King’s Bishop because he trained the horse. T.J. Kelly had him as a 3-year-old and Mrs. du Pont, who owned Kelso, bought him and we got him after that, so we had him as a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old and he was a nice horse.

“It means a lot,” Jerkens added. “I don’t know what he would think about it, he’d probably be blushing right now.”

The Travers and King’s Bishop are two of six Grade 1 races that are run on the Aug. 26 card, which is the highlight of a summer stakes program that has 69 stakes worth $18.775 million. That card includes the Forego, for older sprinters, which had its purse cut from $700,000 to $600,000, and the Personal Ensign for filly and mare routers, which had its purse shaved from $750,000 to $700,000. The $1 million Sword Dancer and the $500,000 Ballerina also are on that card.

The Grade 1 Whitney tops the Aug. 5 program that will include five stakes – three graded. At $1.2 million, the Whitney had its purse cut by $50,000 and is now the second-richest race run at the meet. The Grade 1 Woodward, which carries the same conditions as the Whitney, on Sept. 2 had its purse increased from $600,000 to $750,000.

NYRA significantly bumped the purses of a pair of listed turf sprint stakes. The Troy Handicap for males went from $100,000 to $250,000 and was moved off Alabama Day to Aug. 6. The Caress, for fillies and mares and run July 24, went from $100,000 to $200,000. Both races are run at 5 1/2 furlongs.

The Grade 3 Lake Geroge, part of the opening-day card with the Grade 3 Schuyervlille, had its purse cut $50,000 to $150,000. The Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress (Sept. 3) and the Grade 3, $150,000 With Anticipation (Aug. 30) also were cut by $50,000.