Be Like Smarty

Move over Michael Jordan, it seem everyone now wants to be like Smarty Jones. Several Thoroughbred owners and breeders in recent weeks have used 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, both grade I, winner Smarty Jones as inspiration for naming their own fillies and colts, perhaps hoping his name had something to do with his ability and worldwide popularity.

According to a release from The Jockey Club news service, since May 14, The Jockey Club's registry in Lexington has approved these eight names:
Smarty Me - a 2001 filly by Elusive Quality out of Adios
Sleepy Jones - a 2002 colt by Swiss Yodeler out of Saro Golden
Smarty Who - a 2003 filly by Lucky Lionel out of Magical Queen
Smarty Dee - a 2003 filly by Pepper M. out of Saucy Dee
Party Jones - a 2004 colt by Elusive Quality out of Spanish Falls (GB)
Like Smarty - a 2004 colt by Rio Verde out of Runaway Val
Smarty Joe (reserved name)
Smarty Brown (reserved name)

"I take it as a compliment and I'm honored that people are doing this," said Pat Chapman, who owns Smarty Jones with her husband Roy. "I was surprised when I first heard about it but then I remembered that I once named a cat after Tug McGraw [of the Philadelphia Phillies]. I just hope they leave some good names for me [when Smarty Jones' racing career ends and his breeding career begins]."

Of the eight, only one has started to date and she won her first race. Smarty Me, a 3-year-old filly by Elusive Quality, sire of Smarty Jones, debuted at Prairie Meadows on June 15 and won a six-furlong maiden special weight race by 8 1/4 lengths in 1:09 3/5.

The filly was purchased by Robert and Mary Ellen McKee as a yearling and was originally named Hastalavista Baby. They couple changed her name in May to honor the filly's family connection to Smarty Jones. She is trained by Donnie Von Hemel and is currently stabled at Arlington Park but may be racing at Churchill Downs in the months to come.

These eight, however, are not to be confused with some Thoroughbreds who had "Smarty" names before Smarty Jones became a household name with his Derby and Preakness victories and his widely chronicled preparation for and performance in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

The previously named "Smarties," according to The Jockey Club's Online Names Book, include: Smarty; Smarty atthe Party; Smarty Brown; Smarty Cat; Smarty Diamond; Smarty Jacks; Smarty Pants; Smarty Smarty; Smarty Smithette; and Smarty Star.

As for the real Smarty Jones, he recently returned to training at Philadelphia Park and his narrow loss to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has done nothing to dampen the worldwide interest in him from racing fans and the media alike.

"He's had such an impact on so many people it's just unbelievable," Pat Chapman said from her New Hope, Pa. home the other day. "I've been staying up late at night trying to answer all his fan mail. Believe me, he's as popular as ever."