Someday Farm's undefeated Smarty Jones continues to have all of the answers, tallying a sharp 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park Saturday.
The Pennsylvania-bred colt by Elusive Quality
–I'll Get Along (by Smile) won his fifth straight for trainer John Servis and is in line for a $5 million bonus if he can win the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 10 and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 1.
Smarty Jones, the morning line favorite in the field of eight, ended up as the third choice at 7-2, no doubt over concerns about his ability to handle the 1 1/16-mile distance. He carried top weight of 122 pounds while facing the toughest field of his career.
But it was clear from the start he would be difficult to beat. Breaking cleanly for Stewart Elliott, the chestnut settled in right behind slight 2-1 favorite Purge, pulled alongside on the far turn and pulled away in deep stretch under steady hand urging. The final time was 1:42.
Purge, who suffered his first loss in three starts, set fractions of :23 2/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 while racing along the inside of Smarty Jones. Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, Purge had won his first two starts by a combined seven lengths, but was stretching beyond six furlongs for the first time.
Pro Prado, in good striking distance throughout for John McKee, tired in the stretch but held on for third. Mr. Jester, who went off as the 21- second choice, was also in good position along the inside for Kent Desormeaux, but backed out of contention on the home turn and finished sixth.
Smarty Jones was coming off a three-quarter of a length win in the one-mile Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Feb. 28, but was all out to hold off Two Down Automatic and Pro Prado that day. His previous three wins, including two stakes victory, were by a combined 27 3/4 lengths.
He collected his biggest paycheck, $120,000, increasing his career earnings to $278,355.
The winner paid $9, $4.60 and $3.40. Purge returned $.40 and $3.80. Pro Prado's show was $3.60. The $2 exacta was worth $30.60.