Smarty's Echo
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Smarty's Echo
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Chad Harmon

Smarty's Echo Breezes Half Mile for Lecomte

Trainer Anne Smith planning to race Smarty Jones colt with blinkers at Fair Grounds.

Windy Hill Farm's Smarty's Echo worked a half-mile in company Jan. 12 in preparation for the upcoming Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, centerpiece event of the "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day."

"That work went really well for us," said trainer Anne Smith, speaking outside her barn later in the morning Sunday following Smarty's Echo's :48 4/5 breeze. "I don't know if the clockers caught them both or not, but I know what I got him in. He worked in blinkers and that seemed to help him focus a little bit. I think now that we'll run him in blinkers in this race coming up. James Graham was aboard for the move today. The other horse broke on top but 'Smarty' caught up to him before the wire."

The $200,000 Lecomte for 3-year-olds at one mile and 70 yards headlines a quartet of stakes events scheduled for the New Orleans track Jan. 18.

Smith said Smarty's Echo "is still just a little bit too playful. Athletically, he is very talented and now we're trying to get him to focus a little better to utilize that talent."

The son of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) winner Smarty Jones  has only made four starts, all during his juvenile campaign. He finished third in his debut over grass at Arlington Park, but then came back to break his maiden by a head Sept. 6 over that Chicago oval's Polytrack course. Moving on to Keeneland, again on Polytrack for the Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) Oct. 5, the Kentucky-bred chestnut finished second, beaten less than three lengths despite being steadied early and then racing wide.

However, his next started in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park was a total disappointment. He was far back throughout before finishing 10th, beaten 16 lengths.

"I don't even like to talk about that race," said Smith, who came up under two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Carl Nafzger.  "It was his first start on dirt and a whole bunch of other things went wrong. The owners (Windy Hill's father-son duo of Pete and Scott Reiman) were very disappointed.

"Hopefully, we've put that race behind us now," concluded Smith. "I was really encouraged by the way things went this morning." 

Bred by Northwest Farms out of the multiple stakes-placed Eastern Echo mare Silver Echo, Smarty's Echo has put in five breezes over the Fair Grounds main track since Dec. 14 in preparation for his 3-year-old debut. He sold for $45,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July 2012 sale.