New York Handler Jerkens Takes “Big Jump” To Saudi

Wednesday 07 June 2023

7 June 2023 – Jimmy Jerkens will take charge of his first runners as a trainer in Saudi Arabia as early as next week. The New Yorker has agreed to train for 2022’s leading owner, HRH Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdulaziz. Known as the ‘Red Stable’, Jerkens will be responsible for some of the jurisdiction’s top horses in training.

Jerkens has two Breeders’ Cup successes on his resume, winning the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile with Artie Schiller and the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with Corinthian. He also trained the 2009 Florida Derby winner Quality Road, who coincidently is the sire of 2022 Saudi Cup winner Emblem Road, and multiple Grade 1 winner Shaman Ghost.

Over the past couple of years, Jerkens has been struggling for winners, but speaking on the emergence of the opportunity, he said: “Joel Rosario’s agent, Ron Anderson, called me and told me that the Red Stable were looking for a trainer for the upcoming season.

“He said: ‘I know you’ve been struggling for the last couple of years, and I don’t know what your prospects are here, but I put your name out there and they looked up your resume and they’re extremely interested’.

“I didn’t think much about it and he called me again. The more I thought about it, the better it looked compared with the prospects I had coming back to New York.

“It’s expensive to operate back home in New York, especially if you don’t have the volume and the quality. It had just turned into never-ending expense.

“A few years ago, you could afford to be a bit more patient and sit around and wait for things to happen, but you can only charge so much, and I couldn’t really afford to wait any more.

“If you’ve not had any running and winning, you’re dead. It crept up on us, financially, and how long can you afford to be irresponsible like that? You’ve got to look at it realistically, but I didn’t want to give up training.

“This gives me a chance to work with some decent horses and not worry so much about the other side of it.”

The Ta’if racing season, which got underway last Thursday, runs until October, and Jerkens is expecting to take charge of his first runners as early as next week:

“There’s a lot to get used to but everyone’s been supportive, said Jerkens. “My first full day of being responsible for the horses provided to me will be the Sunday after the opening three days of racing at Ta’if.

“I’m getting horses from two different trainers and we’re moving to an isolated spot on the other side of the racecourse; all the other outfits are grouped together further away from us around the track.

“I’ve got plenty to learn, as all the race classifications are different to how they are at home. As soon as I know the horses I have and what their aims are, I’ll know how to approach it training-wise.

“I think the horses, as a whole, look terrific and they’re getting great care. Those are my first impressions, and those impressions are always the ones that stick in your mind. I’m happy with how everyone operates over there and the respect they have for the horses.

“It’s a big jump now, no question, but I’ve got a lot of support and a lot of good help, so it shouldn’t take long.”

The season at Saudi Arabia’s premier track in Riyadh will begin shortly after the end of the Ta’if season and includes the world’s most valuable race meeting, the two-day Saudi Cup event.


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