Smarty Jones retires
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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. Further tests revealed a chronic bruising of the bottom of the cannon bone in all four fetlock joints. "This is a fairly common injury in horses, caused by the wear and tear of racing," said Servis on Monday. "He would need three months rest before he should resume training. This would knock him out for the rest of the year." Owners Roy and Patricia Chapman gave consideration to the resumption of Smarty Jones' racing career, but in the end decided against it. "If everything went right, he might make the Dubai World Cup [next March], but he might not. That's just too many 'ifs' for a horse of this caliber, who has done so much and who has given us so much," said Roy Chapman. The Pennsylvania Derby on September 6 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. "After all he's done, I couldn't live with myself if I thought we were putting him in harm's way," said Pat Chapman. "He doesn't owe us anything, and we owe him a lot." 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 the Chapmans 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. "If it were any other horse, you'd turn him out and bring him back to the track in late October and start building back up his conditioning," added Servis. "But this is Smarty Jones. I don't see any way he can earn on the racetrack in a year what he can earn next spring in the breeding shed. And then you have the emotional trauma if anything should happen to him. I can't blame the Chapmans for retiring him." Smarty Jones earned more than $7.6 million during his short, but brilliant career and will retire to stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky. "We have not decided upon a stud fee, but we will do so shortly -- probably in the next two or three weeks," said Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay. At Three Chimneys, Smarty Jones will occupy the former stall of Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history (1977).