Close menu
2023 Jerkens Stakes Replay & Analysis | One In Vermillion Wins After New York Thunder Dies At Saratoga
New York Thunder before the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (Racing Dudes Photo)

2023 Jerkens Stakes Replay & Analysis | One In Vermillion Wins After New York Thunder Dies At Saratoga

One in Vermillion won the 2023 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in a last-to-first effort after the runaway leader New York Thunder broke down near the finish line. New York Thunder was the 2nd horse death of the day at Saratoga after Nobel broke down shortly past the wire in race 5, which was held on turf.

With hindsight being 20/20, should racing have been canceled at any point due to safety concerns? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section.

SMASH the *Thumbs Up* ~ HIT *Subscribe* ~ RING the *Notification* bell

The press release:

Jonathan Kalman’s One in Vermillion crossed the wire first to post a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course.

The seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds saw the undefeated Jorge Delgado trainee New York Thunder take charge from the gate under Tyler Gaffalione and lead the field of six through each point of call with Arabian Lion keeping a close second. The pair drew well clear of their four other rivals before New York Thunder was the lone leader at the top of the stretch. New York Thunder sustained a catastrophic injury to his left front leg near the sixteenth pole, with the subsequent spill unseating Gaffalione.

Despite the immediate response of on-site veterinarians, New York Thunder was humanely euthanized due to the severity of the injury. Gaffalione walked onto the ambulance under his own power, visited first aid and was uninjured.

One in Vermillion raced far off the pace at the rear of the field down the backstretch and made a strong sustained run under Irad Ortiz, Jr. to pass rivals entering the stretch, winning in a final time of 1:22.63 at odds of 19-1 for trainer Esteban “Steve” Martinez’s first career graded stakes victory. Verifying finished second 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Arabian Lion with Fort Bragg and Drew’s Gold completing the order of finish.

Martinez said he was proud of One in Vermillion’s effort, but that the loss of New York Thunder weighs heavy on his mind.  

“I thought this horse could run well in here. He tries hard all the time. He came from the back and he did great,” said Martinez. “I feel really bad about the rider and the horse.”

Ortiz, Jr. echoed his sentiments, and praised the talents of New York Thunder.

“It’s sad. He was already a winner I think, to be honest,” said Ortiz, Jr. “Unfortunately, that happened. I asked about the rider, they say he’s OK, so I’m glad Tyler is okay. He’s a friend of mine. It’s not the way you want it to happen.”

One in Vermillion, a son of Army Mule, entered from a third-place finish in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby on August 6 at Mountaineer, and has now finished in-the-money in each of his last six starts. He returned $41.40 for a $2 win ticket.

New York Thunder, who set splits of 22.29 seconds, 44.40 and 1:08.78 over the muddy and sealed main track, entered the Allen Jerkens undefeated in four starts for owner AMO Racing USA, including a last-out triumph in the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 28 at the Spa, providing Delgado with his third career graded stakes win.

One in Vermillion, a $26,000 purchase at the 2021 Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders’ Fall Mixed Sale, now owns a 12-6-3-1 record with total purse earnings of $653,840.