The clash of undefeated 2-year olds in Saturday's Remsen (gr. II) lived up to billing when Rockport Harbor dug in to earn a neck victory over Galloping Grocer in a stretch battle that drew a rare shout of applause from the Aqueduct grandstand.
Three repeat winners, including The Blood-Horse senior correspondent Steve Haskin, and one newcomer collected divisional honors in Churchill Downs' 22nd annual 2004 Red Smith Kentucky Derby Writing Contest, a competition that honors the finest print media coverage of this year's famed "Run for the Roses."
Smarty Jones' vacation ends soon as the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner will begin serious workouts early next week in preparation for the Sept. 6 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park.
With the Aug. 8 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) eliminated from his plans, Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones now sets his sights on the Sept. 6 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), the purse for which could be raised from $750,000 to $1 million.
Move over Michael Jordan, it seem everyone now wants to be like Smarty Jones. Several Thoroughbred owners and breeders in recent weeks have used 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, both grade I, winner Smarty Jones as inspiration for naming their own fillies and colts, perhaps hoping his name had something to do with his ability and worldwide popularity.
Ending weeks of speculation, Roy and Pat Chapman announced Friday afternoon that their 3-year-old superstar Smarty Jones will stand at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. at the end of his racing career.
It's been 20 days since the Belmont Stakes (gr. I); 20 quiet days for Smarty Jones, who has only been walking the shed since his valiant, but unsuccessful quest to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner. On Friday, Smarty paid his first visit back to the track, stretching his legs in a one-mile jog.
After talking to owner Roy Chapman Monday morning, trainer John Servis has mapped out a tentative plan for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones that includes the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), Pegasus Handicap (gr. III), and finally the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Even though Smarty Jones fell just a length shy of winning the Visa Triple Crown last Saturday, the hunt for the breeding rights for the son of Elusive Quality continues. Smarty's breeder/owners, Roy and Patricia Chapman are currently visiting with Kentucky breeding operations today (Thursday) and Friday.
This year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the end was not about two jockeys ganging up on Smarty Jones. It wasn't about the ride by Stewart Elliott. It was all about class, as was the entire Triple Crown.
Six weeks after the thrilling victory by Smarty Jones in the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), owners Pat and Roy Chapman and trainer John Servis make a triumphant return to Churchill Downs on Saturday to be honored for their Derby win and their exciting run at the Visa Triple Crown.
Smarty Jones' breeder/owners Roy and Patricia Chapman and trainer John Servis will not only celebrate their Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday, they'll also be supporting a good cause as they attend the third annual "Out to Pasture" Party.
At the daily press conference outside Barn 5 at Belmont Park Friday morning, trainer John Servis' opening remarks were "I feel real good." He acknowledged that Smarty Jones was ready for his bid for the Triple Crown on Saturday and said the undefeated runner "knows it's time to dance."
Trainer John Servis was the guest speaker and the theme was "Achieving in Spite of Adversity" as Faust Elementary School in Bensalem, Pa., located across the street from Philadelphia Park, celebrated "Smarty Jones Day" in high style.
Smarty Jones and just about anyone or anything connected to him have proven hot commodities in anticipation of a Visa Triple Crown Challenge bid June 5 at Belmont Park.
Smarty Jones, who stands on the threshold of Triple Crown immortality, will have his one and only all-important work for the mile and a half Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Friday morning at 5:30. Trainer John Servis said he's not looking for anything quick, and is anticipating the colt will go between 1:28 and 1:29.
If Smarty Jones wins the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, it may be because he has had a little extra help from the "Man upstairs."
Trainer John Servis revealed at a press conference at Philadelphia Park Wednesday that Someday Farm's undefeated Smarty Jones suffered a foot bruise before the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but it quickly cleared up and the colt was able to maintain a normal training schedule.
Undefeated Visa Triple Crown Challenge hopeful Smarty Jones galloped at Philadelphia Park the morning of May 25 and was pronounced by trainer John Servis as ready for his May 28 work.
John Servis is a longtime Philadelphia Flyers fan, and he "wasn't happy" to see his hockey team eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday night. Although he now has Philly's number one sports franchise in Smarty Jones, and the almost-fanatical support of the city and all of Pennsylvania, Servis said he's still not feeling any added pressure.
You had to see it to believe it. Smarty Jones' open-house gallop at Philadelphia Park Saturday morning drew between 8,500 and 10,000 fans, some of whom showed up as early as 5 a.m. Once the doors opened just before 8, it was a mad dash to secure choice spots along the rail.
The more trainer John Servis has thought about it the more he's leaning toward shipping Smarty Jones to Belmont Park as close to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) as possible. It had been reported that the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner would van up next Wednesday, but those plans have changed.
As trainer John Servis points Smarty Jones toward his Visa Triple Crown quest in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), here's a glance back on the workout schedules for the Derby/Preakness winners, starting with the most recent ones, since 1969. That year seemed a good time to start because it marked the first year that a Derby/Preakness winner went into the Belmont unbeaten.
HorseRacing TV (HRTV) will give Thoroughbred racing fans a front row seat on the Smarty Jones bandwagon with special live coverage of trainer John Servis' news conferences on Friday May 21, Saturday May 22, and Monday, May 24.
Trainer John Servis, having just returned from a couple of days of relaxation up in the Poconos with his wife, Sherry, told a gathering of reporters Wednesday morning that Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones has come out the second leg of the Triple Crown as strong as ever.
Looking at the handsome Smarty Jones today, it's hard to believe he once was so disfigured he was known as Quasimodo around the New Jersey Equine Clinic, where he had been brought after smashing up his head and face in a starting gate incident last spring.
In front of a record crowd of 112,668 at Pimlico Race Course May 15, Roy and Pat Chapman's Smarty Jones made a shambles of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and kept his record perfect with his eighth win, this one by more than 11 lengths.
Trainer John Servis said that he's seeing a side of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones this week that he hasn't seen since before the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and he likes it. "He's getting a little bit of an attitude and I like him that," Servis said Friday morning on the backside of Pimlico Race Course.
Smarty Jones isn't John Servis' only starter this weekend. He will send out longshot Pilfer for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan. Bob Baffert's Yearly Report is favored in the nine-furlong race.
From tots in strollers to old men in wheel chairs, Smarty Jones fans showed up at Philadelphia Park in full force Saturday morning to watch their hero gallop and receive accolades by local and state dignitaries.
Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella wanted to do something big to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the racetrack that had been a part of his family since 1904. So big, in fact, the sport of horse racing has never seen anything like it.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones had his first solo gallop at Philadelphia Park Friday morning, and from all indications, the colt has bounced out of the Derby in great shape and is ready for another big effort in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
John Servis, trainer of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victor Smarty Jones, said Thursday that "All systems are go right now" for a start in the Preakness May 15.
Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones is expected to ship to Baltimore either next Wednesday or Thursday for the 129th Preakness Stakes. The undefeated colt paid his first visit to the racetrack since his victory when he jogged at Philadelphia Park Wednesday morning.
The full moon had all but faded from the morning sky, and a salmon pink sunrise was now illuminating the tan sheet-metal barns on the Philadelphia Park backstretch. Inside Barn 11, peering out of his once-familiar stall 38, was Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones.
By Steve Haskin -- Get out the cheese steaks and pretzels. It's party time in Philly. Smarty Jones remains unbeaten with Kentucky Derby victory.
By Tom LaMarra -- "The Chapmans are people with great hearts, the kind of people that really make the business go. If we didn't have people like them, we wouldn't have a Derby."
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 ouf of the Derby in top shape.
There were plenty of quips and comments from trainers and connections with Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls Tuesday night at the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders trainers' dinner in Louisville.
The moment of truth is at hand, as several Kentucky Derby (gr. I) scenarios are played out over the next couple of days. At Churchill Downs, the biggest activity Friday morning was trying to dodge the rain. But the miserable weather was brightened momentarily by the presence of the unbeaten Smarty Jones.
It's not everyday a horse based in the Keystone state earns national recognition. So given the accomplishments of Smarty Jones, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has taken steps to honor the undefeated 3-year-old colt who is pointing to the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Citing the fate that befell Demons Begone in 1987, trainer John Servis said Smarty Jones will be administered the anti-bleeder medication Salix for the first time when the undefeated colt runs in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Smarty Jones took up residence on the Keeneland backstretch Wednesday following a van ride from Oaklawn Park. Trainer John Servis said Smarty Jones will van over to Churchill Downs on April 23, and will remain there until the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Smarty Jones, a Pennsylvania native and Arkansas' adopted son, was scheduled to relocate to Kentucky on Tuesday.
By Ray Paulick -- This year's Derby promises to be especially interesting because with all but a couple of the major preps in the books, there is no clear-cut favorite.
Undefeated Smarty Jones showed an impressive turn of foot coming out of the final turn and held the closing Borrego off through the stretch for a comfortable 1 1/2-length win in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park Saturday.
Someday Farm's heavily-favored Smarty Jones ran his undefeated record to four Saturday, holding off the rallying Two Down Automatic and Pro Prado for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park.
Fox Hill Farm's favored Zonk allowed Pocus Hocus and With Ability to duel themselves out of contention, then came with an uncontested rally to post a four-length victory in Saturday's $109,600 Affectionately Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 mile on the Aqueduct inner dirt track.
D.J. Stables' Martha's Music won her second straight stakes race at Laurel Park Saturday, taking the $100,000 Anne Arundel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year old fillies.
Eclipse Award runner-up Jostle, who won last year's Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), has been retired from racing.
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