Homeboykris is on his way to the Kentucky Derby, while Backtalk's status is up in the air for the May 1 classic
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Brent Fernung stands to go down in history as a three-time purchaser of "Derby dams" if Backtalk's impressive style carries him to a win on the first Saturday in May.
Steve Haskin ranks the best losing performances in a Breeders' Cup or a Triple Crown race for the years 2000 - 2009. Who's #1?
The first 10 years of the new century have produced many superstar runners in North America. The editors have whittled down a lengthy list to what they believe to be the 12 best male runners of the decade (2000-09). Rank 'em!
GoldMark Farm's undefeated Backtalk will try to remain perfect in four lifetime starts, but will have to overcome post 13 when he meets a dozen rivals in the $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), Saratoga's final major race for 2-year-olds on Labor Day.
Strong pedigrees link Saratoga's first two juvenile stakes winners of 2009 - but will genes be enough to keep Backtalk and D'Funnybone in stakes contention after their 2-year-old campaigns?
Glen Hill Farm's Florida homebred I'll Show Them puts his two-race undefeated record on the line Aug. 15 as he steps up to stakes company in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Despite losing to Birdstone in heartbreaking fashion in the Belmont, Smarty Jones touched Madison Scott's heart. And from that point on she became "Smarty's No. 1 Fan," an unofficial title that became official July 6 when Three Chimneys Farm and Smarty's owner, Pat Chapman, arranged for the 15-year-old Scott to spend a week with her favorite horse.
Favored Backtalk is undefeated in three starts after motoring home on the outside of a closely grouped field to win the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds by a neck over Enumerate at Saratoga Race Course July 30.
Smarty Jones was the first unbeaten winner of the Kentucky Derby since Seatle Slew. A fan favorite, Smarty Jones today stands at Three Chimneys.
One of the closest Kentucky Derby finishes came in 1996, when Grindstone nipped Cavonnier at the wire. Grindstone today stands at the Young family's Overbrook Farm.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Foals from the first Elusive Quality crop conceived after Smarty Jones's heroics have come to hand earlier. Even though they've only just turned 3, five of their number are stakes winners. Prominent among them is Fountain of Youth winner Quality Road.
He had to work a little harder than the typical 2-5 shot has to, but Old Fashioned pulled clear late and came out on top in his 2009 debut Feb. 16 with a 3 1/4-length victory over a stubborn Silver City in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
On January 18, 2009, Smarty Jones became a "grandpa" when his 3-year old daughter Jonespartyofwon produced a filly in Pennsylvania. Is breeding a filly as a 2-year-old a good idea?
Champion Smarty Jones, whose first foals just turned 3, is the broodmare sire of a filly born Jan. 18 in Pennsylvania.
The nice thing about Flat Out's win in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park Jan. 19 is the colt did not look like he was "all out." He blew by the leaders and coasted home to the second victory in his short career.
Jockey Stewart Elliott reached the milestone of 4,000 North American wins Jan. 18 when he guided Jake's Bandaid to a victory in the seventh race at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack.
Three Chimneys Farm announced their 2009 stud fees Oct. 31, and dual classic winner Big Brown will stand his first season for $65,000.
There's a certain feeling of deja vu around Barn 38 on the backstretch of Santa Anita Park. If Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and owner Tom VanMeter II have the funny feeling they've been here before, they're right.
Mani Bhavan, a clear-cut winner of the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga last time out, cuts an imposing figure over a cast of six other 2-year-old fillies entered for the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 3 at Keeneland.
Nine days after having his first 2-year-old winner in Puerto Rico, Smarty Jones registered his first winner in the United States when Zayat Stables' Keefer broke his maiden in his first start at Monmouth Park July 20.
Champion and dual classic winner Smarty Jones came through with his first winner July 11.
The loss of the 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by Smarty Jones still plays in Stewart Elliott's mind, especially around this time of year. He thinks of the pressure going into that race, remembering the media frenzy and build-up of public recognition.
In a national media teleconference conducted May 28, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. continued his boastful and outspoken comments regarding potential Triple Crown winner Big Brown, saying among other things that winning the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) was a "foregone conclusion," the contenders "just can't run with Big Brown," and "there was no way in the world" that Japanese-owned Casino Drive could defeat his horse.
Four years after Birdstone upset Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid, trainer Nick Zito would love to play spoiler again, as he will send out Four Roses Thoroughbreds' Anal Nakal in the Belmont in hopes of rejecting Big Brown's bid for racing immortality.
The New York Racing Association is prepared for the crowd that will on-hand to watch Big Brown attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. It will be the first Triple Crown attempt since 2004 when Smarty Jones fell short.
ReRun, the Thoroughbred adoption group, is having a Moneigh auction on Ebay that ends the day after the May 3 Kentucky Derby.
Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April "cruelest month," but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.
John Servis has not been on the Triple Crown trail since Smarty Jones captivated the Thoroughbred racing world in 2004. The veteran trainer will try to change that this year, as he sends out Indian Jump in the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes April 19 at Pimlico Race Course, a 1 1/8-mile dirt event that serves as the local prep for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Tuesday night's opening session of the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training should get off to a fast start.
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass, current Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Pyro, and filly sensation Eight Belles head a list of 110 nominations for the 72nd running for the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
The "Smarty slots" in Pennsylvania have been jingling for more than a year. In Kentucky, where the racing industry views Pennsylvania as a major threat, casino legislation broke from the gate in a tangle yet again this year.
The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey has named Dr. Patricia Hogan as the 2008 winner of its "Spirit of the Horse" award.
Live racing in the heart of Hot Springs, Ark., kicks off Jan. 18 as the 56-day Thoroughbred meet gets under way at Oaklawn Park. The historic facility first hosted racing in 1905.
One of the last "Moneigh" paintings done by the late John Henry is up for bids in an eBay auction held by ReRun, the ex-racehorse adoption program.
Dr. Tadashi Iida, a well-known owner, breeder, and veterinarian in Japan and CEO of Chiyoda Farm, that country's major breeding and training facility, passed away Nov. 15 in his native land after suffering an apparent heart attack. He was 80 years old.
Stakes winner Pro Prado, who was stakes-placed three times to Smarty Jones, will enter stud in 2008 at Hourigan Horse Farm near Anthony, N.M.
Donation, the dam of Lawyer Ron, along with her weanling colt by Smarty Jones, will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected mixed sale Nov. 4. Donation and her foal will be consigned by Four Star Sales for Bobby Trussell.
Three Chimneys' stallion fees will remain the same or decrease in 2008, the farm announced Oct. 12. Also, the farm will contractually limit the stallion books to 110 mares, as has been its informal custom for several years.
- By Ron Mitchell
Agents, owners, and trainers are purchasing yearlings by first-crop sires at the Keeneland September yearling sale because there is more upside than downside. Afterall, with no horses yet to race, each still has unlimited potential.
First-crop yearling sires always add an element of intrigue to any sale, but the class of 2007 adds an extra amount of interest to the Keeneland September sale due to fewer stallions sporting top-racing credentials and pedigrees with commercial appeal compared to the 2006 class.
- By Ron Mitchell
Is history destined to repeat itself at this year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale when it comes to first-crop sire power?
Canadian-based Bear Stable went to $350,000 for a bay colt from the first crop of Lion Heart to top Monday's first session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale in Lexington.
A fire started by a faulty motor in a fan broke out in the barn of trainer John Servis at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack the afternoon of June 20, causing minor injuries to his stable pony, Jinks.
Former New York Racing Association executive Bill Nader missed his first Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in more than a decade. Nader was named executive director of racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and relocated to Hong Kong in April.
Nationally-renowned equine artist Robert Clark will be painting live at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 16, as he works on a portrait of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense for the second annual Horsemen's Education Benefit.
Nearly three years to the day from Smarty Jones' victory in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), trainer John Servis celebrated another career milestone when he won his 1,000th race on Tuesday, May 1, sending Love for Pleasure to victory in the 10th race at Philadelphia Park.
Trainer John Servis, best known for taking Smarty Jones to victories in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I), won his 1,000th race May 1 with Love for Pleasure, who won the 10th race at Philadelphia Park by three lengths.
With Curlin installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it's interesting to take a look at favorites throughout history to see how they performed on the first Saturday in May.
Smarty Jones, who missed a few days at the beginning of the breeding season, has covered 31 mares and six of the first seven checked are in foal.
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