07/26/2004 11:00PM

Cloud over Smarty plans


Smarty Jones is likely to run again, but trainer John Servis on Tuesday conceded there's a possibility the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes may not.

Smarty Jones on Monday was declared out of the Sept. 6 Pennsylvania Derby because of a bruise to his left front hoof. Servis, in a national teleconference on Tuesday, detailed the extent of the injury, and said Smarty Jones was still being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park, but said the calendar and the hovering presence of stud duty were factors to be weighed.

"If it was any horse other than Smarty Jones, I'd say, 'Heck, yeah, this horse is going to run again. You can guarantee it,' " Servis said. "But, there's so much on the line, and time is of the essence, with the Breeders' Cup coming up, that it's in the back of your mind, sure. It's something he's going to get over. Hopefully, he'll get over it quickly enough.

"I think we'll see him run again," Servis said. "I've been through some situations like this where, quite frankly, it just takes time."

Servis said Smarty Jones has suffered from bruises in his feet over the past five months.

"The last one was more deeply embedded than the other ones," he said. "We cut it out about 10 days or two weeks ago. He just hasn't come back as fast as we would have liked, as far as his aggressiveness and being ready to go on. I figured at this stage of the game, if we were going to make the Pennsylvania Derby, we would have had to put some pressure on him and rush him to get there, and I didn't want to do that."

Servis said Smarty Jones has been fitted with glue-on shoes, instead of traditional shoes that are affixed with nails.

"He's gotten a lot better since we did that, but he's not 100 percent yet, and I'm not ready to start breezing him until he is," Servis said.

Ideally, Servis said he would like to race Smarty Jones once before the Breeders' Cup. He said his options are the Pegasus Handicap, which will be run this fall at either The Meadowlands or Monmouth Park (the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns both tracks, has yet to decide where or when the Pegasus will be run), or the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

"I'd say he's definitely on track for the Breeders' Cup," Servis said. "I would love to get a race into him, whether it's the Super Derby or the Pegasus. When I'm confident that I can put him on the fence and start breezing him, then I'll be able to go right on with him and know exactly where I'm at."