Is There Another Smarty Jones in Count Fleet?

(from Aqueduct report)
Smarty Jones electrifying run at the 2004 Triple Crown started modestly enough with a victory in the Count Fleet at Aqueduct. Some horsemen took note. The $75,000 race for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards Saturday attracted an overflow field of 13.

In his last try of 2004, Michael Tabor's Killenaule finished third in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), 8 ½ lengths behind two highly regarded youngsters, Rockport Harbor and Galloping Grocer. Killenaule sat just off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen, but could not match Rockport Harbor or Galloping Grocer from the far turn home.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Killenaule has already made five starts around two turns, winning three of those, including ungraded stakes at Delaware and The Meadowlands. In total, the son of 2000 Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus  has made nine starts, more than anyone else in the Count Fleet.

Fox Ridge Farm's Empire-state bred Naughty New Yorker seems to have come to hand in his last couple of starts for trainer Pat Kelly. After finishing second to Galloping Grocer as a maiden in the Sleepy Hollow, the Quiet American colt dusted state-bred maidens and then romped to a runaway 8 ½-length win in the Damon Runyon. In both victories he made big moves around the far turn and was able to continue on.

"He does it so strangely, looping the field like that," Kelly said. "He did that against New York-breds, so we'll see if he can do it against better horses on Saturday."

No trainer on the grounds is hotter than Tom Bush, clicking at about a 40% clip. He claimed Tani Maru for Donald and Adam Newman for $75,000 out of a Spa maiden claimer and in three starts for his new connections, Tani Maru owns two wins and a third in the Huntington.

Tani Maru's last start, a Dec. 15 allowance, was the Devil His Due colt's first try around two turns and it resulted in victory, although he had to work hard to best Scrappy T and Father Weist in a photo.

After being narrowly defeated by Tani Maru, Scrappy T and Father Weist will be back to try to avenge their losses.

Paraneck Stable's Daddy Joe, a $900,000 purchase last year as a 2-year-old, broke his maiden in his fifth try and now tackles stakes horses with Stewart Elliott in the saddle.

$75,000 Count Fleet Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 mile and 70 yards
1. Naughty New Yorker, Pat Kelly, Jean-Luc Samyn, 118
2. Father Weist, Nick Zito, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 116
3. Lucky Alarm, Floyd Snyder, Nick Santagata, 118
4. Daddy Joe, Jen Pedersen, Stewart Elliott, 116
5. Scrappy T, Robert Bailes, Alan Garcia, 116
6. Qualified Opinion, Richard Violette Jr., Shaun Bridgmohan, 116
7. Tani Maru, Tom Bush, Rafael Bejarano, 118
8. Killenaule, Todd Pletcher, Richard Migliore, 122
9. Lakeville Rush, David Dwyer, C. Montpellier, 116
10. Benjamin Baby, Kiaran McLaughlin, Pablo Fragoso, 116
Also Eligible
11. Interline, Robert Corrado, Fernando Jara, 116
12. Lenny, Guadalupe Preciado, Fernando Jara, 116
13. Heza Storm, Allen Iwinski, Rafael Bejarano, 116