(Originally from the July 27, 2013 issue of The Blood-Horse)
by Anne Peters
The Triple Bend Handicap earned its grade I status by bringing together the most talented sprinters on the West Coast. Six grade I winners were topped in this year’s Triple Bend by Centralinteligence, a 5-year-old scoring his first stakes victory in impressive fashion. His victory was a landmark for his sire as well, as he became the first North American grade I winner for America’s Horse, Smarty Jones .
In a unique twist Centralinteligence was bred by Pat Chapman, co-owner of Smarty Jones with her late husband Roy Chapman. Their 2004 Kentucky Derby/Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner was one of the most popular racehorses of recent years, and when Smarty Jones retired to stud, there were almost impossibly high hopes. Unfortunately, Smarty Jones fell victim to circumstances. His initial stud fee of $100,000 was considered by many to be too high, and although his first crop of yearlings sold well enough, his first runners were less than remarkable, and the market was unforgiving. In 2010 his stud fee fell to $10,000, and Smarty Jones was relocated to his home state of Pennsylvania for 2011.
Smarty Jones’ record then began to turn around. At the end of 2010 he was 79th on the Leading Sires list by progeny earnings, and had five stakes winners that season. In 2011 Smarty Jones was 61st on the list, again with five stakes winners.
Last year Smarty Jones finished 45th on the Leading Sires list, and had nine stakes winners including one bred by Pat Chapman: Pennsylvania-bred juvenile stakes winner Res Judicata; as well as the graded-placed Centralinteligence, who had run second in the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III). Pat Chapman had gathered a small broodmare band in her own name after the death of her husband in 2006. Res Judicata is out of the homebred mare Mohonour by Honour and Glory, while Centralinteligence is out of Shootforthestars, a daughter of Seattle Slew whom Chapman purchased at the 2006 Keeneland November Sale for $450,000 in foal to Elusive Quality (the sire of Smarty Jones).
While inspecting that much-anticipated 2006 first crop by Smarty Jones with Mrs. Chapman, this writer noticed that the best foals—the biggest and strongest—seemed to be out of mares from the Seattle Slew line and the Deputy Minister line.
This isn’t rocket science but common sense, that he was getting his best foals from mares that added size and bone, areas where Smarty, an otherwise great-looking horse, might be faulted. In fact, Shootforthestars had one of those great-looking first crop foals, a colt later named Kee-fer, who became one of Smarty Jones’ first winners.
This observation and other elements of her pedigree put Shootforthestars high on the list of mares that this writer provided Chapman going into the 2006 November sale. Smarty Jones was linebred to Bold Ruler and to War Admiral/La Troienne crosses, strains known to work well with Seattle Slew. Smarty Jones was out of a mare by Smile, by In Reality out of Sunny Smile, a daughter of Boldnesian. Since Seattle Slew was sired by Bold Reasoning, a son of Boldnesian, this linebreeding seemed to offer potential. Six of Smarty Jones’ 21 stakes winners carry crosses of Boldnesian.
Shootforthestars’ dam is grade III winner Lotta Dancing, by Alydar. Besides being bred on a similar cross as Smarty Jones’ great-grandsire Mr. Prospector—both with Raise a Native on a Nasrullah granddaughter—Alydar also tended to add size and length of leg. The next dam was the grand racemare Lotka, a grade I winner and a current resident at Our Mims Broodmare Retirement Haven. Her sire, Danzig, had proved an exceptional nick with Smarty Jones’ sire Elusive Quality.
Shootforthestars dropped an Elusive Quality foal in 2007, My Elusive Star, which became her third stakes-placed runner. Mrs. Chapman has bred the mare back to Smarty Jones every year since, and the first Chapman-bred out of Shootforthestars was Centralinteligence, a $90,000 Keeneland September yearling.
Centralinteligence broke his maiden as a 3-year-old in July at Hollywood Park for Amerman Racing Stables, Bongo Racing Stable, and Gary Finder et al. At 4 he placed in the Los Angeles Handicap and repeated that placing this year behind Comma to the Top before turning the tables in the Triple Bend.
As predicted Smarty Jones has done well with Seattle Slew-line mares, including the dams of five of his stakes winners, including Centralinteligence, grade II winner Old Time Hockey, and grade III winners Gilded Gem and Sunrise Smarty. He has two stakes winners from Deputy Minister-line mares, and two from Danzig-line mares, although the top broodmare sire line by count is six stakes winners from Mr. Prospector-line mares, and one from a mare by another Raise a Native-line sire, Affirmed.
Although he’s no longer the height of fashion, Smarty Jones has become an accomplished sire of sprinters and milers who have a tendency to get better with age. Centralinteligence is the best of those so far.