|FERRIS ALLEN in beaming winner's circle|
(#14) SON FERRIS ALLEN WINS DAD'S BERT ALLEN
Ferris Allen once told me that when his father, Bert Allen, didn't show up at Colonial, his first reaction would be to start calling the hospitals to make sure he was alright. The times he had to dial since Colonial’s grand opening could be counted on one hand.
Bert was laid to rest in January of 2011 after a lengthy illness. Later that year in the first running of the stakes race named for the "first fan of Virginia racing", his son saddled Deputy Fling.
It wasn’t the first time that a trainer’s son won the stakes at Colonial named after his father. The first W.Meredith Bailes stakes where trainer Robbie Bailes saddled an interest was in 1999. The elder Bailes was the first person to ride Secretariat. Nik Goodwin went wide on the dirt aboard Steak Scam delivering a four length score for Dom’s and Mark’s Stable as the favorite.
The elder Allen owned Warwick Stable and bred Miracle Wood who ran 5th in the 1986 Preakness. His son Ferris rode horses and played baseball while growing up. After playing baseball at William and Mary, Ferris coached high school baseball at Varina High School.
|John Mooney, Ferris Allen, Bert Allen|
Bert Allen gave me a standing invitation to bring any new fans with me at Colonial into the winner’s circle on Ferris’ winners. Many times he would get there before me with the group where he held court, table 519 in the Jockey Club.
Magalen O. Bryant owned favored Deputy Fling who had broke his maiden in his first start at Colonial Downs earlier that season. The Virginia-bred's four starts at Colonial that summer were his only four career starts. The three-year old was facing older horses and talented contemporaries. On Colonial’s newest big day of racing, the Commonwealth Turf Fest, Allen’s attempt to win his father’s race anchored the marquee. The day didn’t take him by surprise.
“I’ve had the whole meet to reflect on this,” said Allen, earlier that morning on Off to the Races. “I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this coming back here to race. As much as some people may think it’s been sad. It’s been opposite for me. I’ve had my moments during the meet and will probably have another one today.”
In 1:02.63, Deputy Fling blazed the track record on the turf at 5 & ½ furlongs. Equibase charts commented about his four length win that he “won with something left.”
It wasn’t Secretariat’s Belmont but just as meaningful for Ferris, emotional while anchored in the center of the post race winner's circle. Other trophy presentations more may be more valuable but none more rewarding.