07/25/2004 11:00PM

Change of plans for Smarty

Email
Equi-Photo
Smarty Jones will miss the upcoming Pennsylvania Derby with a minor injury.

The homecoming king can't make the homecoming game.

Smarty Jones, who was scheduled to race before his hometown fans in the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 6 at Philadelphia Park, was declared out of that race with a minor injury Monday.

Smarty Jones is based at Philadelphia Park, where he began his career before embarking on a campaign that saw him capture both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, then come up just short of sweeping the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. He was bred in Pennsylvania by his owners, the Someday Farm of Roy and Pat Chapman, who live in Bucks County, not far from Philadelphia Park. The Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby was scheduled to be Smarty Jones's first start since the Belmont.

Trainer John Servis told the Philadelphia Daily News that Smarty Jones had a bruised foot.

Bill Foster, the stable foreman for Servis, said Monday that Smarty Jones would still be able to make the Pegasus Handicap at The Meadowlands this fall and then the Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

"It's a little thing, but if we don't take care of it, we could jeopardize the horse," Foster said from Philadelphia Park. "John, as you know, is very careful with his horses. A lot of trainers would just keep on going, but that's how much he cares about his horses. If this isn't taken care of, it could turn into a bigger

problem."

Foster said Smarty Jones merely walked under tack at Servis's Philadelphia Park barn Monday. "His last day on the track was Sunday," Foster said.

It is unusual for a horse with a bruised foot to be taken out of consideration for a race so far in advance of that race. But this situation demanded immediate action. Philadelphia Park cannot accommodate the type of walk-up crowd that a horse as popular as Smarty Jones might attract. Therefore, Philadelphia Park was going to sell seats well in advance of the Pennsylvania Derby and put a cap on admissions.

"We're tremendously disappointed in the development, but are extremely appreciative that the Chapmans, John, and all of Team Smarty allowed us to be part of the excitement that permeated this plant all spring," said Hal Handel, the chief executive officer of Philadelphia Park.

Smarty Jones has worn four leg wraps throughout his career. He developed some minor swelling in an ankle this spring while training at Keeneland in between his victories in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby.

Following the Belmont, Three Chimneys Farm purchased an interest in Smarty Jones, based on a syndication value of $39 million. Smarty Jones will go to stud at Three Chimneys at the end of his racing career. Though it has not been said definitively, the Breeders' Cup Classic could be his final career start.

- Servis spent much of Sunday and Monday at the home of bloodstock agent Mark Reid, for whom Servis worked as an assistant when Reid trained. One of Reid's sons, David, drowned over the weekend. He was 20. Servis was David Reid's godfather.