Smarty Jones retires
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A formal announcement will come later this afternoon. Smarty Jones has been bothered by a bruised front left hoof that forced trainer John Servis to scratch the three-year-old from next month's Pennsylvania Derby. The September 6th event at Smarty Jones' home track of Philadelphia Park would have been the colt's first race since he came up just short of winning the Triple Crown at the June 5 Belmont Stakes. Birdstone ran down Smarty Jones in the stretch to win the Belmont by one length, keeping the Triple Crown drought alive. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes since Affirmed in 1978, but Smarty Jones gave thoroughbred fans a great ride this spring. After winning the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Smarty Jones became just the second Pennsylvania-bred to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. By capturing those three races, the chestnut colt earned owners Roy and Patricia Chapman a $5 million bonus from Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. Two weeks after the Run for the Roses, Smarty Jones solidified his chance at history with a dominating performance at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. He toyed with the field at Pimlico Race Course and won by a record 11 1/2 lengths, shattering the old Preakness margin of victory -- 10 lengths set by Survivor in 1873. In New York three weeks later, it appeared as if Smarty Jones would become the 12th Triple Crown winner. He had the lead along the backstretch and pulled away from Rock Hard Ten and Eddington on the final turn, but Birdstone made an incredible charge down the stretch and caught the leader only a few yards before the wire. It was the first, and now only, loss in nine lifetime starts for Smarty Jones. He became the ninth three-year-old since 1978 -- and third in as many years -- to fall short in the Belmont after winning the first two jewels of the Triple Crown. Smarty Jones earned more than $7.6 million during his short, but brilliant career and will retire to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.