With a positive forecast and unprecedented interest in Smarty Jones' Visa Triple Crown Challenge bid in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), officials at the New York Racing Association are bracing for the biggest day in track history.
Shortly before he arrived at Belmont Park after a 2 1/2-hour van ride, Someday Farms' Smarty Jones was installed as the 2-5 morning line favorite when he breaks from the outside nine post position in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
It's not easy playing the role of villain in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). They're the guys wearing the black hats, the party poopers, the evil-doers of the Triple Crown. In the last 35 years, there have been three Triple Crown winners, and 11 horses that fell short in the 1 1/2-mile "Test of a Champion."
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed both raced at four, enhancing their reputations...
By Susan Baldrige -- It was a simple farm, nothing fancy, with a quaint farmhouse and an old, stone barn with irregularly shaped box stalls. The farm had one tiny sign with a black horse painted on it that quietly announced you were there. That was exactly three years ago.
The numbers, including fractional times, all show Smarty Jones is the best three year old in the country.
The decision on where Smarty Jones will stand at stud should be made within the month, according to George Isaacs, who is acting as the liaison between Roy and Patricia Chapman and stud farm operators in Kentucky bidding for Smarty Jones' services.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday morning that Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) winner Purge will attempt to disrupt Smarty Jones' Visa Triple Crown Challenge bid in Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Hollywood Park will issue the first 10,000 patrons a free $2 win ticket on Smarty Jones on Saturday as he bids to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Mark Hennig was surprised when Eddington worked a blistering half-mile last week, so for his final Belmont Stakes (gr. I) prep, he equipped the colt with blinkers, put Jerry Bailey up, and worked him in company to see how aggressive he'd be off that last work. He found out when Eddington blazed five furlongs in :59 flat.
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.
In his final workout in preparation for a sweep of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Someday Farms' Smarty Jones breezed seven furlongs at Philadelphia Park on Friday.
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.
As Someday Farm's Smarty Jones prepares to make a run at history to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in next Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the race for his future career as a stallion is rolling like a :21 and change opening quarter. One thing for certain is that in any syndication deal for Smarty Jones will include a stipulation that he will race on after the Triple Crown and may compete as a 4-year-old.
If he stays healthy, Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones is likely to run as a 4-year-old, a Florida horseman who is handling stallion negotiations for the colt's owner says.
TVG will air Smarty Jones' final pre Belmont Stakes (gr. I) workout Friday from Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa. The work will air at 1 p.m. EDT.
The connections of the three Triple Crown winners in the 1970s are all rooting for Smarty Jones to become the 12th winner of the Triple Crown in next Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I.).
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.
Oaklawn Park is planning a full-blown 'Smarty Party' for June 5 when the track's adopted son, Smarty Jones, goes for the Visa Triple Crown and second $5-million bonus in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
With Rock Hard Ten having already been trounced by Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer Jason Orman can only hope that the mile and a half distance of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) will help bring the two colts closer together in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Debbie Given, who managed Someday Farm when Smarty Jones was born, recalls the Triple Crown contender as "ornery" as a foal, a characteristic he shared with his dam, I'll Get Along.
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.
Little Red, meet Big Red. When Smarty Jones ships to Belmont Park next week, he will be stabled in Barn 5, which was the home of Triple Crown winner Secretariat. The barn is right next door to Barclay Tagg's barn, making Smarty Jones and last year's hero, Funny Cide, temporary neighbors.
Smarty Jones' attempt to sweep the Visa Triple Crown Challenge and the 2004 presidential election have led a central Kentucky horseman to put a lighter touch on both events.
Meadowlands, where Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have raced on the same program, will link the two breeds together June 5 when it offers a special daily double on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the first race of its evening harness card.
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.
As Smarty Jones attempts to duplicate Seattle Slew's feat as an undefeated Triple Crown winner, the following excerpt from "Seattle Slew," published by Eclipse Press, recounts the weeks and events leading up to Slew's Belmont Stakes victory.
Smarty Jones has been rated the best horse to race anywhere in the world since 1990 by international rating agency Globeform.
By Ray Paulick -- Somewhere at the Aurora, Canada, corporate headquarters where Frank Stronach sits atop his Magna International and Magna Entertainment Corp. empire, there is a warehouse filled with architectural drawings and miniature models for changes to the racetracks Magna now owns.
By Gary McMillen -- Sometimes it takes a thorn to get rid of a splinter. Like a Maryland blue crab dropped out of a basket, I scurried to the safety of my office. There were questions I needed to ask myself. Smarty Jones did not give me what I wanted but maybe he gave me what I needed.
Will racing fans be disappointed again in their wait for a Triple Crown winner? The near-misses outnumber the times that racing's most elusive prize has been claimed.
Prompted by Smarty Jones' immensely popular run at the Visa Triple Crown, the NTRA, NYRA, and ESPN have put together an extensive block of Belmont week programming.
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.
Links to other media reports about Smarty Jones' quest for the Visa Triple Crown in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
"Chapman Ford, home of Smarty Jones, how may I direct your call?" That is the greeting people receive when they call the Chapman Ford dealership on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia, indicating life is not exactly the same around the showroom since Smarty Fever hit the City of Brotherly Love.
The New York Racing Association is making more seats available for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in which Smarty Jones will attempt to win the Visa Triple Crown.
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.
Interactive horse racing network TVG plans extensive coverage of Smarty Jones' effort to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, including live coverage of his first post-Preakness Stake s(gr. I) public gallop, Saturday at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) from Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa.
Merchandise featuring the image of dual classic winner Smarty Jones, including t-shirts and caps, will be available at racetracks across the country on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day under a deal reached between the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the undefeated colt's owners, Roy and Patricia Chapman.
A sampling of articles from other media about Smarty Jones' quest for the Triple Crown.
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.
The last time Salty Punch saw Smarty Jones it was a very brief visit, about as long as it took for Smarty to blow by him shortly after the start of the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes last November. Five defeats later, Salty finally has found the winner's circle again, winning the six-furlong Danzig Stakes at Penn National.
If Smarty Jones is victorious in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), say goodbye to Street Road, the major thoroughfare where Philadelphia Park is located, and say hello to Smarty Jones Boulevard.
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.
NBC Sports' broadcast of Smarty Jones' win in the 129th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday delivered a 6.1 national rating / 15 share for the full telecast, which is the best since 1990 and a 22% improvement over last year's 5.0/13, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 1990 Preakness, won by Summer Squall, generated a 7.2 rating/21 share.
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.
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.
A sampling of articles from other media about Smarty Jones' quest for the Triple Crown.
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