By Terry Conway
Smarty Jones , whose wins in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) while unbeaten catapulted him to celebrity status, is coming home. The Chester County, Pa.-born champion will be relocated to Tarry Bratton’s Ghost Ridge Farms near York, Pa., for the 2011 breeding season. He formerly stood at Robert N. Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky.
Smarty Jones, who raced as a homebred for Pat Chapman and her late husband, Roy, in the name Someday Farm, has been purchased by Chapman from Three Chimneys. The Chapman family had owned half of the 60 shares in the 2004 champion 3-year-old colt in the original syndicate agreement. A new syndicate agreement with breeders’ options, cover fees, etc., is expected to be finalized over the next week. Smarty Jones is due to arrive at Ghost Ridge in early November.
The Chapmans sold a 50% interest in Smarty Jones as a stallion. Smarty Jones was syndicated by Three Chimneys.
Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality--I’ll Get Along, by Smile) stood for $100,000 in 2005. His fee was $10,000 in 2010. Ghost Ridge is accepting nominations for 2011.
Retired to Three Chimneys in 2004, Smarty Jones won eight of nine starts, including not only the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but also the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), Rebel Stakes, Southwest Stakes, and Count Fleet Stakes, and amassed lifetime earnings of $7,613,155. His only loss came in a second-place effort to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by a length.
“Three Chimneys has gone above and beyond in making Smarty accessible to the public and has been trusted advisors to my family and me throughout his career at stud,” Chapman said. “We’ve had many discussions over the past year about what is in Smarty’s best interest and I am thankful for the Clays’ support in my decision to bring Smarty Jones back to his home state of Pennsylvania to stand at Ghost Ridge.”
Located in the horse and buggy country of the Pennsylvania-Dutch farmlands, Ghost Ridge is where Bratton purchased his first racehorse, in 2000. Prior to buying Ghost Ridge, Bratton teamed up with his father to purchase a few broodmares and several racehorses at the claiming level. Over the past year, Bratton has brought in some of top stallions for clients to Ghost Ridge. They include Jump Start , Honour and Glory, and Greatness, and E Dubai.
“Mrs. Chapman and Anthony Tigano (chief financial officer of the Chapman business operations) have been the driving force to get this deal done with Three Chimneys Farm bringing Smarty Jones back to Pennsylvania,” Bratton said. “She truly appreciates what Smarty Jones meant to racing fans and the general public when he raced.
“If it wasn’t for Smarty, I’m not sure there would be the slots and casinos in Pennsylvania that has fueled both the resurgence in the racing and breeding programs. As for me, if that didn’t occur, I’m not sure I would be the owner of Ghost Ridge today.”
On Oct. 9, Rogue Romance, by Smarty Jones, won the $100,000 Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland in convincing fashion, taking the 1 1/16-mile turf contest by 2 1/2 lengths.
During his career, Smarty Jones has sired 89 winners from 137 starters, including 13 stakes horses.
“He has a huge base of support from breeders, owners, and fans on the East Coast, especially in Pennsylvania, and his progeny have proven quite profitable in that region,” Robert Clay said. “The goal in relocating him was to bring him closer to his primary base of mare support, giving him the best chance for greater success at stud.”
While at Three Chimneys, Smarty Jones was a featured attraction for the farm’s more than 25,000 visitors a year and occupied the stall of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.
“It’s nearly a full time job keeping up with Smarty’s many, many fans, and he’s one of the main attractions on our daily public tours,” Clay said. “Ghost Ridge is looking forward to giving those fans an opportunity to reconnect with Smarty.”
A fifth generation horseman from Ireland, Ghost Ridge general manager Carl McEntee believes Smarty Jones can be one of the best stallions in Pennsylvania.
“Smarty Jones is one of the most recognizable names in the horse industry," McEntee said. “His physical is near-impeccable, his on-track accomplishments speak for themselves, and he has the heart of a champion. We are honored and privileged to offer the breeders of the mid-Atlantic region a stallion of this caliber.”
Three Chimneys will be holding a public open house to allow fans to say farewell to Smarty Jones Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.