Jerman’s gamble on the gray flannel horse is paying off
While other serious bidders fell by the wayside, Jerman picked him up for $5,000— which is the limit she put on herself in the first place.
The quar terhorse called Bok Man had found a family— which included not only an owner, but a trainer and jockey as well.
Three years later, it all paid off as on April 28, Bok Man captured the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge and earned a trip to represent Texas at the $125,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship on Oct. 27 at Prairie Meadows Race Track in Altoona, Iowa.
Bok Man’s victory at Sam Houston Park is the stuff legends are made of.
Son Jeff Jerman—who is a professional jockey and rides mainly in Louisiana—was scheduled to ride Bok Man in the Challenge.
Only problem was, he was also riding in the third race at Delta Downs in Vinton, La.— two hours away.
Post time at Delta Downs was at 7:40 p.m. Bok Man’s race at Sam Houston Park’s start time was 10 p.m.
Still in his silks, Jerman had to navigate the traffic on I-10 to make his mount.
He arrived two minutes before the race started.
“I really didn’t think I was going to make it on time, but God willing, it worked out,” said Jerman. “I hadn’t had a chance to ride this horse since last year... but I watched his races. I felt that he wasn’t close enough, so that was what I tried to do tonight. He really has a good finish to him.”
He covered the 870 yards in 45.791 to win at the wire.
“Jeff did it for us, gave him a great ride,” said father/trainer Jerry Jerman. “Our groom, Jose, broke the horse and did a wonderful job with him. It all came together.”
“I had a feeling that if Jeff could ride him, we could get that race,” owner Cindy Jerman said. “I have to give all the glory to God. He’s an awesome horse and part of our family. We’ve been hoping for something like this for a long time.”
The signifigance of the victory was not lost on the veteran trainer Jerman.
“Horse racing is so tough, so hard,” he said, “there are thousands of hours of training from the time a horse is born and for one horse to win is huge. It’s so hard to get there.
“Jeff riding him and him winning made the whole thing. Once in your life, it all comes together.”
Age—Four years Weight— 1,150 pounds Career earnings— $36,000 Owner—Cindy Jerman Trainer— Jerry Jerman Rider—Jeff Jerman Race history—14 starts; two wins, five seconds, three thirds. Last race—Won the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge. Next up—The Distance Challenge Championship, Oct. 27 in Altoona, Iowa.
Bok Man has earned $36,000 in his short life, running in just 14 races.
He has crossed the wire first tw ice, complemented by five second places and three thirds, so he has finished in the money in 10 of the 14 starts.
Three weeks after the Challenge, he was literally nosed out by Kite Flyer in another epic battle at the Governer’s Cup Marathon
“It was very close,” said rider Gaspar Garcia, who aboard in place of Jerman.
“He thought he won, so we let him think he won,” said Cindy Jerman.
Jerry Jerman has been a horseman in one way or another his entire life.
The Utah native—who once had the mule concession at the Grand Canyon—moved to Rockdale from Amarillo to oversee the construction of Valhalla Farms out on 908.
Jerman passed on his love for horse flesh to his son Jeff, who makes a living as a jockey and although he is based in Louisiana, has also ridden in California.
Jerman has won over 1,000 races in his 20-year career.
“He’s a good, good rider,” says proud papa Jerry. “He’s an honest rider.”
Both times Bok Man has won, Jeff was aboard.
For being a good boy, Bok Man will now take it easy until the Challenge Championship in October.
He may run at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans in September as a warmup for the Challenge Championship, but that’s still up in the air.
He’ll take in some aqua therapy and basically be treated like a member of the family—which he is.
“He knows he is a part of our family,” Cindy Jerman said.
“When he won, we made sure we called all the people that touched his life. It was important to us to do that.”
Bok Man has gained a reputation as a horse who likes to run from behind—a closer—which makes his owners a little nervous come race time.
“He’s a very competitive horse,” Cincy Jerman said. “He loves to run. When I arrive at the race, he knows something is about to happen.
“Bok is a very gentile soul who can be petted and hugged, but when he gets to the track, he gets about twice the size and is on his toes to go to work.”
Jerry Jerman admitted that he had his doubts about the speckled horse as well, but Bok Man’s huge heart changed his thinking.
“He’s an exciting horse,” Jerman says. “He has a lot of finish in him.”
Battling seven horses of that calibur at the Challenge Championship, he’ll need another strong finish.
Perhaps a positive omen, Jeff Jerman rode the horse that won the Challenge Championship last year.
“We are excited about this as if we were going to the Kentucky Derby,” Jerry Jerman said. “Only eight horses qualify for this. They do make a big deal out of it.”
Once again, Bok will be surrounded by his family, as Jeff plans to be in the driver’s seat come race time.
Hopefully, the driving distance will be a little shorter this time around.