Moderate rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of fans at Philadelphia Park, the home of Smarty Jones, the morning of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). People began gathering at the gates to the picnic area at the Bensalem, Pa., racetrack at 5:30 a.m. EDT -- and remember, they can only watch the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge on television.
Two former jockeys who traveled to Belmont Park for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) are fast becoming the talk of Philadelphia Park and quite popular with some members of the general public in the Delaware Valley, thanks to "The Legend of Smarty Jones."
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.
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.
Keith Jones believes he has called about 40,000 races in his career, but he clearly remembers the ninth race at Philadelphia Park on Nov. 22 of last year. Jones said it is among the most impressive performances he ever has seen on the track.
Pennsylvania legislators reportedly have struck a tentative deal on slot machines in the state, but the proposal still has a long way to go.
It has been said undefeated Smarty Jones has put Philadelphia Park on the map, but the racetrack adjacent to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bensalem Township actually has been home to some outstanding racehorses, including a few that were downright freakish.
Vincent Papandrea's Little Matth Man, eighth in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), came out of the race with a chip fracture of his left front knee and could be out for at least six months.
Smarty Jones isn't the only Thoroughbred trying to win the second leg of a Triple Crown Saturday, as steeplechase horse Sur La Tete tries to keep his streak alive in the $100,000 Mellon National Hunt Cup (NSA-I) at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa.
An undisclosed number of deaths attributed to salmonella has forced the New Bolton Center to close to the public.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman -- Fletcher was very polished in congratulating Smarty Jones' owners, trainer, and jockey. But his ears had to be ringing from Churchill CEO Tom Meeker's comment that, "The sun wasn't shining too bright in Kentucky today but I have a slight feeling it was shining in Pennsylvania."
Maryland officials who oppose expanded gambling met with lawmakers and activists in Pennsylvania April 28 in the hope of combating any push for racetrack slot machines or casinos.
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).
Rich Orbann, president and chief operating officer of the racing division for Penn National Gaming Inc., will leave that post and instead become a consultant for the Pennsylvania-based company beginning May 7.
Wild West, a full brother to leading third-crop sire Grand Slam, will stand his first year at Joseph Vaughan's Ballyvaughan Farm near Oxford, Pa
Cushing's disease has been identified as the most common cause of laminitis among horses seen at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.
Some Kentucky Derby pundits have questioned Smarty Jones' pedigree due to the speed influences of his sire, Elusive Quality, and broodmare sire, Smile. Their problem lies in the fact they haven't scratched much beyond the surface.
Pensioned stallion Ga Hai, who turned 33 this year, died March 17 at Thomas Reigle's Reigle Heir Farms near Grantville, Pa.
Grade II winner Lil's Lad has been relocated to Judith Barrett's Godstone Farm near Pine Grove, Pa.,
A Commonwealth Court judge has affirmed an order by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission that upholds the ejection of jockey Orlando Bocachica from the grounds of Philadelphia Park after he admitted to using a battery on numerous occasions during morning training hours, but not during an actual race.
Stakes-placed Special Times has entered stud at Judith Barrett's Godstone Farm near Pine Grove, Pa.
The amazing story of Amazing Philly continued Wednesday as she finished third in her first start. Race fans might remember her as the surprise foal of Speak Compelling, produced at Philadelphia Park in 2000.
Pennsylvania horseman Raymond Gambone, owner of Our Farm near Norristown, died Feb. 13 in a Philadelphia hospital following a bout with cancer.
Millionaire Fastness, sire of Canadian champion and classic winner Le Cinquieme Essai, has been relocated to Judith Barrett's Godstone Farm near Pine Grove, Pa.
Bankbook, a 14-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, has been relocated to Judith Barrett's Godstone Farm near Pine Grove, Pa.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, at a Jan. 27 news conference, said he was tired of the legislature's inability to pass a gambling bill and was fashioning his own bill to authorize slot machines at 12 locations in the state.
Jonathan Sheppard has taken over for George Strawbridge as president of the National Steeplechase Association. Sheppard, who lives in Pennsylvania, was elected Jan. 16 to head a 15-member board of directors.
Multiple graded stakes winners Duckhorn has arrived for stallion duty at Barbara Rickline's Xanthus Farms near Gettysburg, Pa.
Live racing went on at Philadelphia Park as scheduled Dec. 30 even though management and jockeys are still at odds over how the riders are paid.
Magna Entertainment Corp. initiated restrictions upon or pulled its live racing signals from most account-wagering services effective Dec. 26, and at least one operator isn't happy about the developments.
Jockeys at Philadelphia Park voted not to ride the 10-race card Dec. 29 after they were unable to resolve payroll issues with management.
Officials of Bedford Downs, a proposed racetrack in Western Pennsylvania, have recieved 5,000 letters from local residents in support of their efforts.
The Pennsylvania legislature may be close to passing both a budget and slot machine legislation, perhaps by the end of the week of Dec. 15.
Philadelphia Park jockey Kendrick Carmouche, 19, was charged this week in Pennsylvania with sexual assault involving a 14-year-old girl.
Industry officials, during a preliminary meeting Dec. 2 at Philadelphia Park, discussed testing for erythropoietin antibodies that could be implemented in Pennsylvania and perhaps a few other Mid-Atlantic states in 2004.
Stakes winner Alyzig, along with Crimson Hero, Contemplate, Cyclone, and Speed Jaro, will stand at Joseph Vaughan's Ballyvaughan Farm near Oxford, Pa.
MTR Gaming Group Inc., which has been granted a state license to build a horse racing track in Pennsylvania, has plans to build a temporary slot machine parlor where customers can gamble during the two years it will take to build the track.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell isn't against having slot machines at locations other than racetracks, but he said if that's the case, it's imperative the tracks and the horse racing industry be protected.
The signs point to progress in Kentucky in terms of a bid for racetrack gaming in 2004, while in Pennsylvania, the horse industry is slowing the prospects for passage of legislation, officials said Nov. 11 during a panel discussion at Racino 2003 at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, whose 2002 campaign platform included an endorsement for racetrack gaming, will issue a "major policy speech" Nov. 12 at the closing session of Racino 2003 at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia.
Pennsylvania Sen. Robert "Tommy" Tomlinson, whose district includes Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, is planning to reintroduce a slot-machine bill as early as the week of Oct. 20, according to a report in the Bucks County Courier Times.
By Graeme Beaton -- We're all after that one horse that will show them who's best! The dream of that "Big One" keeps us going.
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) at Philadelphia Park will be in the spotlight this week when HorseRacing TV (HRTV) begins extensive pre- and post-race coverage. The cable channel will broadcast the 1 1/8-mile race live on Sept. 1.
Hal Handel, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Park, confirmed Thursday the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III), set for Labor Day, will have its purse increased from $500,000 to $750,000 "no matter who runs."
MTR Gaming announced it has completed its aquisition of Scioto Downs, a Standardbred track in Columbus, Ohio.
The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate returned to a brief session July 28 but didn't consider racetrack slots legislation. It previously had buried a bill passed by the House, and it had predicted it would be after Labor Day before it considers the topic again.
The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved Thursday a racing license to Presque Isle Downs, which is slated for construction in Erie, Pa.
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