05/09/2004 11:00PM

5 million reasons to smile

Roy Chapman, the owner of Derby winner Smarty Jones, receives a $5 million check from Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella.

BENSALEM, Pa. - Smarty Jones began the week a winner, five days before he goes for the second leg of the Triple Crown in the 129th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course. By virtue of his victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 1, Smarty Jones earned a $5 million bonus from Oaklawn Park for sweeping that track's Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, along with the Kentucky Derby.

On Monday here at Philadelphia Park, where banners proclaim it is "the proud home of Smarty Jones," Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella gave Pat and Roy Chapman, the owners of Smarty Jones, their rich reward.

Check, please.

"Please don't cash it until next Monday," Cella said after giving the check to the Chapmans. Roy Chapman, though usually confined to a wheelchair, rose to give Cella a giant hug.

Cella flew in with a large entourage that included Oaklawn track officials, as well as media members from the Hot Springs, Ark., area. He compared Smarty Jones with Secretariat, saying both have come along at a time when people "don't look at the front page," and instead turn to the sports page for some good news. Cella said Smarty Jones was giving "the happiness and equilibrium that we as Americans know."

Cella also outlined his insurance policy on the bonus. He said he insured half the amount - $2.5 million - for an 11-percent premium. He also said he insured the remaining half only two days before the Derby for 16 percent, then tried to cut his exposure further by wagering heavily on Smarty Jones.

"I think everybody was happy except the insurance companies," he said.

The Chapmans were thrilled, and they spread the wealth. Roy Chapman said privately after the ceremony that both Stewart Elliott, the jockey of Smarty Jones, and John Servis, the trainer, would get a customary 10-percent share, worth $500,000 each.

Earlier in the morning, Servis said the first thing he would do with his cut is "take care of the help" at his barn. "A lot of these guys have traveled with him and been with him all along," Servis said.

Servis thanked Cella later in the day. "What you did for us was great, but what you did for the business was fabulous," Servis said.

Monday's ceremony completed a whirlwind weekend for Smarty Jones at Philadelphia Park. On Saturday, a crowd of several thousand people turned out to see him gallop. And then Sunday, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell presented a proclamation honoring Smarty Jones.

And there's still a race to be run this weekend.

At least 10 horses - including as many as five who chased Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby - are expected to be entered Wednesday for Saturday's Preakness. As it was for the Derby, post positions will be determined in a two-stage process. First, a blind draw will be held to determine the selection order. Then, Wednesday evening, a representative of each horse will select their runner's post position. The selections will be made at the ESPNZone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area, during a one-hour telecast on ESPN2 that begins at 5 p.m.

In addition to Smarty Jones, the Preakness field is expected to include Borrego (with Victor Espinoza riding), Eddington (Jerry Bailey), Imperialism (Kent Desormeaux), Lion Heart (Mike Smith), Little Matth Man, Rock Hard Ten (Gary Stevens), Sir Shackleton (Rafael Bejarano), The Cliff's Edge (Shane Sellers), and Water Cannon (Ryan Fogelsonger). There is also a possibility that Song of the Sword will be entered, trainer Jennifer Pedersen said.

Smarty Jones had an easy morning here Monday. He came on the track at 8:35 with exercise rider Pete Van Trump, with Servis alongside while astride a pony. Smarty Jones cantered a leisurely 1 1/2 miles accompanied by the pony. Per usual since his Derby victory, Smarty Jones had the track all to himself right after the renovation break.

Servis said he purposely gave Smarty Jones an easy day of training after a series of aggressive gallops in previous days.

"I wouldn't be so concerned if he was racing in three weeks, but there's only two weeks between races," Servis said. "I want him ready to beat somebody up. There's three things you have do with a horse. One, keep him sound. Two, keep him fit. And three, keep him happy."

Servis said Smarty Jones would be sent by van to Pimlico on Wednesday. "He'll go in the afternoon, but if it's hot, we'll take him in the evening."

Little Matth Man, the other Philadelphia Park resident who will compete in the Preakness, got treatment similar to that of Smarty Jones, in that he had the track to himself once Smarty Jones exited. With local jockey Catalino Martinez aboard, Little Matth Man worked four furlongs in 47.21 seconds, the best time of eight at the distance.

Marty Ciresa, the trainer of Little Matth Man, said he had yet to secure a jockey for the Preakness.

At Hollywood Park, Imperialism breezed three furlongs in 35.80 seconds with trainer Kristin Mulhall in the saddle. Mulhall said Imperialism had another schooling session at the starting gate before his workout and had improved significantly since last week.

One week ago, Mulhall expressed reluctance to take on Smarty Jones again in the Preakness. But she said owner Steve Taub "wants to come, so he's coming." Imperialism was scheduled to be flown to Maryland on Tuesday.

Sir Shackleton and The Cliff's Edge, both trained by Nick Zito, flew to Maryland on Monday from Kentucky. Both worked Sunday at Churchill Downs. The Cliff's Edge worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds, and Sir Shackleton zipped five furlongs in 59 seconds, the best time of 17 at the distance.

Lion Heart had an aggressive, open gallop at Keeneland on Sunday, but no time was recorded.

Eddington will be sent by van from Belmont Park on Wednesday. Water Cannon, who is stabled at Bowie, will make the short van ride the morning of the race.

Rock Hard Ten super in workout

Rock Hard Ten, who was excluded from the Derby but figures as one of the top three or four betting choices in the Preakness, had his final blowout for the race when going five furlongs Monday in a minute flat at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

With Joe Deegan riding and trainer Jason Orman watching from the clubhouse stands, Rock Hard Ten was out well before sunrise at Churchill, where the weather has been humid in recent days. Orman cited cooler temperatures during darkness as his reason for sending out Rock Hard Ten so early.

Rock Hard Ten "got a good blow from the work," said Deegan. "The horse is doing super. He's an unbelievable horse to sit on. He's going to go up there and try to knock Smarty Jones off his pedestal."

"We're pretty excited about getting to run now," said Orman.

With the Churchill surface playing inordinately fast Monday, the clocking for Rock Hard Ten was sixth fastest of 32 at the distance.

About three hours later, shortly after the harrow break at Churchill, Deegan was also aboard Preakness hopeful Borrego for a sharp half-mile work in 46 seconds, fastest of 53 at the distance.

"It looked like he was striding out and did it nice and easy," said trainer Beau Greely.

Borrego and Rock Hard Ten are scheduled to be flown early Wednesday on a charter that will also transport Lion Heart, the Derby runner-up who has been training at Keeneland in Lexington.

Also Monday, Preachinatthebar worked five furlongs in 57.80 seconds at Churchill. But trainer Bob Baffert said from California that although Preachinatthebar will be on the same charter as the other Kentucky-based Preakness contenders, he will run in the Sir Barton Stakes on the Saturday undercard at Pimlico. Jerry Bailey has the mount.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee