Just three days after the passing of legendary Hall of Fame horseman Allen Jerkens, Jimmy Jerkens stood in the same winner’s circle where his father was honored two days earlier, wiping away tears.
Making her 6-year-old debut, Classic Point outran Sweet Whiskey down the stretch and outlasted a late bid from long shot You Bought Her to win the $200,000 Inside Information (G2) on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
It was the first win for Jimmy Jerkens since his father’s death at age 85 on Wednesday following a short illness. At his father’s insistence, Jerkens took over the training of Classic Point for longtime client Joseph V. Shields Jr. last summer.
“It was only three days ago, and it’s going to be a long time to get over it,” Jerkins said. “I’ve been around him a long time. Obviously, the circumstances make it a little special.”
Third choice at 4-1 in a field of six but clearly the sentimental favorite, Classic Point ($10.80) ran seven furlongs in 1:24.47 on a fast main track. You Bought Her was a neck back in second, followed by Sweet Whiskey, Centrique, Best Behavior and Merry Meadow.
Jerkens received an ovation from the crowd as he entered and left the winner’s circle, where he accepted hugs and handshakes from a large group of family, friends and staff who surrounded him following the victory, Classic Point’s third in four starts and first since Nov. 28.
Classic Point swung to the outside to challenge the front-runners approaching the stretch, reeling in Sweet Whiskey at the eighth pole and driving determinedly to the wire under steady urging from Paco Lopez. Lopez won a seven-furlong allowance at Gulfstream last April for the late Jerkens, known throughout the industry as “The Chief.”
“She won it for Allen. I told [Jimmy], ‘She won it for your father,’” Lopez said. “The filly, she really ran hard. I’m happy she won it for Allen.”