BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Arindel homebred Knox will stretch out to two miles on the turf and get a break in weight Saturday when the Florida-bred colt goes to the post in the $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens Handicap at Gulfstream Park. The Juan Alvarado-trained Knox has been assigned to carry 111 pounds in the Jerkens, receiving 13 pounds from the highweighted Value Engineering, who won the Jerkens last year for trainer Mike Maker.
The 3-year-old Knox has produced a reliable career with two wins, two seconds and two thirds in 13 career starts with his last victory coming on Aug. 26 going a mile against $25,000 claimers at Gulfstream.
In two starts since, the bay colt was second to Power Humor in a first level, $20,000 optional claiming against fellow Florida-breds going a mile at Gulfstream on Sept. 16 before unsuccessfully trying synthetic under the same conditions at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Nov. 12.
Knox, who is half-brother to multiple graded stakes-winner Clapton, is by Brethren out of the stakes-winning Afleex Alex mare Alexandra Rylee and has earned $153,150 in his career.
Alvarado has named Emisael Jaramillo to ride and Knox has drawn post six in the 10-horse field.
Value Engineering is the 124-pound high-weight in the Jerkens and has drawn the inside post one.
In addition to winning the Jerkens last year, the 7-year-old gelding by Lemon Drop Kid also won the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at a mile-and-three-eighths on the turf at Gulfstream in March. He will be looking to return to winning form however with off the board finishes in his last three starts.
He was eighth in both the Grade 2 Elkhorn won by Verstappen going a mile-and-a-half at Keeneland in April and in Red Knight’s Grade 1 Man o’ War at a mile-and-three-eight on the Belmont Turf in May. After a six-month break, he was seventh in an upper level, $50,000 optional claiming won by Accredit going a mile on the synthetic main track at Turfway Park in his last race on Nov. 30.
Value Engineering is owned by Michael M. Hui and Phil Forte and has earned $470,665 from five wins, three seconds and seven thirds in 21 starts.
Jose Ortiz will ride Value Engineering.
Assigned to carry the second top weight of 123 pounds is Team Valor International LLC’s McLovin, who exits a victory in the $100,000 John Forbes Memorial traveling two miles on a yielding turf at Fair Hills on Oct. 21.
That is the lone stakes victory for McLovin, who returns to the barn of trainer Arnaud Delacour after making his last five starts with conditioner Rodolphe Brisset.
In his last two races for Brisset, the 5-year-old son of Animal Kingdom was third in the $153,000 Colonial Cup won by Starting Over going a mile-and-a-half on the turf at Colonial Downs on Sept. 3 and sixth, less than two lengths shy of winning Florida-bred Me and Mr. C in the $192,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup at 10 furlongs on the turf at Ellis Park on Aug. 6.
McLovin has won four of 12 career starts with one win and two seconds with earnings of $293,272 and Sean Levey will ride from post eight.
Completing the H. Allen Jerkens entries are Twowaycrossing with jockey Paco Lopez, Swore and rider Tyler Gaffalione, Luis Saez rides F Five, Six Minus will carry Irad Ortiz Jr., Catch the Party has Joe Bravo named to ride, Serifos and jockey John Velazquez and Shawdyshawdyshawdy will be ridden by Edgard Zayas.
Return to the December 14 issue of Wire to Wire