Bred: Equest Thoroughbreds (Fl.)
Dam: French Opera, Wild Again
Emma’s Encore began her career humbly, and didn’t find her stride until joining Allen Jerkens’ barn in Florida and New York as a 3-year-old in 2012. Now, Jerkens says she’s by far the best horse he currently trains.
Despite being well bred by Beth and Greg Fowler’s Equest Thoroughbreds, bad x-rays prevented her selling beyond $2,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale to Shelly Ulrich, who purchased her for her mother, Brenda Mercer, with the intention of racing her for fun. She began running in the Midwest at Hoosier Park, Kentucky Downs, and at Keeneland Race Course, trying all surfaces without success. Mercer sent her to Jerkens in Florida and after she broke her maiden, Peter Berglar of Stonereath Farm purchased a half-interest in her.
Jerkens found her mouth to be soft and tender, so trains her in a bitless hackamore bridle, so she can heal between breezes and races. Emma’s Encore likes to come from behind, so she needs some pace to set up her finishing speed, but now that she likes training, her efforts have been stellar. She earned her first stakes win in the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) in July at Belmont Park and followed with a Prioress Stakes (G1) triumph at Saratoga Race Course.
Emma’s Encore hails from a stakes-producing family. Her dam is the now deceased Wild Again mare French Opera, a full sister to Grade 3 winner Wild Emotions. Also, included in Emma’s Encore’s family tree are graded stakes-placed La Ville Rouge, mother of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Barbaro, and King’s Bishop, who was such a good sprinter there is a Grade 1 race at Saratoga named after him.