Smarty Jones Pointed Toward Preakness; Four of Derby Top Five Likely at Pimlico

Smarty Jones Pointed Toward Preakness; Four of Derby Top Five Likely at Pimlico
Photo: Mike Corrado
Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones will move on to the Preakness.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones will return to Philadelphia Park in the next few days, where he will prepare for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second leg of the Triple Crown, assuming he came out of the Derby in top shape.

"He cleaned up his feed tub last night," trainer John Servis said Monday morning, "which is the first good sign. We still haven't been able to get this horse tired, and as long as he's not tired from this race, he'll go on to the Preakness. If he shows us that he is tired from the effort, then he won't run in the Preakness."

Servis said if Smarty Jones does go to the Preakness, he's not sure when he'll ship the son of Elusive Quality   to Baltimore.

Smarty Jones could face four of the top five finishers in the May 15 Preakness, which will also include some new shooters.

Derby runner-up Lion Heart returned to Keeneland immediately after the Derby, and is a likely starter for the Preakness.

Trainer Patrick Biancone said that if all goes well, Lion Heart would likely ship to Baltimore for the second jewel of the Visa Triple Crown during the early part of Preakness week.
       
"I don't know if I'll fly him next Monday or next Wednesday, I haven't decided," he said.  "I will decide in the next 48 hours."
       
Third-place finisher Imperialism will skip the race and return to Hollywood Park where he'll freshen up and point for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Trainer Kristin Mulhall plans to run Snow Chief Stakes winner Cheiron in the Preakness instead. That son of Maria's Mon is co-owned by Steve Taub, who owns all of Imperialism.

Derby fifth-place finisher The Cliff's Edge is also expected to go to Baltimore, with Maryland Jockey Club officials counting fourth-place finisher Limehouse as a Preakness probable.

"I'm not in a hurry to go to Baltimore," trainer Nick Zito said said.  "They do well here and if 'Cliff' looks like he's doing well, we'll go on to the Preakness.  As for Birdstone, I know Marylou very well and I think she'll give him time.  Two weeks would be tough to come back with him, but he would be a possible maybe for the Belmont.  He ran big."

Also likely are Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, who did not have enough graded earnings to earn a spot in the Derby, and local hero Water Cannon. Kristin Mulhall, who saddled Imperialism to a third place finish yesterday, is expected to run Cheiron, the winner of last week's Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park.

In the last 50 years only six new shooters have won the Preakness: Greek Money (1962), Bee Bee Bee (1972), Aloma's Ruler (1982), Deputed Testamony(1983) and Red Bullet (2000). The most famous non-Derby starter to win the Preakness was Man o' War in 1920.

The Preakness is limited to 14 starters but there has not been a full field since 1992. However in 12 of the last 13 years there have been double digit starters.

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