SMARTY JONES: A PENNSYLVANIA CHAMPION
SMARTY JONES was bred at Someday Farm in Bucks County Pennsylvania by his owners, Roy and Pat Chapman, by the sire ELUSIVE QUALITY and out of the mare, I'LL GET ALONG. Soon after he was foaled in 2001, the Chapman's trainer, Bob Camac and his wife were murdered at their New Jersey farm. Filled with sadness, the Chapmans considered getting out of racing and sold all of their racing stock except for two horses one of which was SMARTY. Roy Chapman kept him because he "had that look in his eye."
After being broken to race in Florida, SMARTY came back to Philadelphia to the barn of John Servis, who had been a friend of Camac. As a two-year-old, during a school session at the starting gate at Philadelphia Park, SMARTY JONES reared up and slammed his head on an unpadded iron bar fracturing his skull and shattering his eye socket bones. The veterinarian thought he might die; he did however, almost lose an eye, but four months later he returned to the track to win by 7-3/4 lengths in his debut; his second start was a 15-length romp.
Servis had SMARTY winter in Arkansas, setting up his wins in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby. From his humble racing start at Philadelphia Park, SMARTY was not primed to win the $5 million bonus offered by Oaklawn Park owner Charles Celia for any horse that won these two races and the Kentucky Derby. SMARTY JONES' Kentucky Derby win was his seventh and he was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby while undefeated since SEATTLE SLEW in 1977. "An absolutely masterful ride," said Servis of jockey Stewart Elliot's ride. They became the first trainer-jockey duo to win the Derby on their first try since SPECTACULAR BID won in 1979 for trainer Bud Delp and jockey Rodney Franklin.
SMARTY went on to win the Preakness by 11-1/2 lengths which was the largest margin of victory in the 129-year history of the race - it even required a new rating classification. This performance made SMARTY just the third horse ever to make it through the Preakness without a defeat; he keeps company with SEATTLE SLEW and MAJESTIC PRINCE.
And so, SMARTY became a folk hero, much like SEABISCUIT, another small horse with a big heart. He received letters from school children and SMARTY fan clubs sprouted throughout the nation. SMARTY, "America's Horse" was "our kinda guy". Finally, we all remember the seminal moment and the silence that traveled deep into our bones when SMARTY was upset by BIRDSTONE in the Belmont in a one length victory. To quote John Servis, "we had a really good run."
This marvelous feature recognizes the efforts of SMARTY and his extended family, including the Chapmans, trainer John Servis, and jockey Stewart Elliot. This champion race horse's inspiring story raised an awareness of the little-recognized, yet impressive history of Pennsylvania horse racing. Slot machine legislation has been finally passed in Pennsylvania allowing slots at nine race tracks in the state which will help reinvigorate Pennsylvania's horse racing industry. Philadelphia Park will have major purses that will catapult it into the big leagues of race tracks. This infusion of energy and excitement surrounding SMARTY JONES' racing career acted as a catalyst for the entire industry. Many great racehorses have been born and raised in Pennsylvania by great horsemen...horses such as the current leading Thoroughbred sire, STORM CAT, and Kentucky Derby winner, LIL E.T., but the one we will always remember the most and who found his way into a nation's heart will always be...SMARTY JONES.
AS AN ADDED BONUS... An HRTV segment catching up on what SMARTY JONES has been up to since his retirement from racing is added at the end of the main feature.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|