12/05/2012 2:54PM

Jerardi: Pennsylvania Nursery has familiar story line going in


Before we get too far, please understand there are no expectation comparisons about to be made, not by me, not by John Servis. But . . .

It is, however, that time of year when reality sometimes gets a gentle push to the side. And you, at least, wonder what is possible.

Saturday afternoon at Parx Racing, a 2-year-old Pennsylvania-bred colt trained by Servis, owned and bred by the Someday Farm of Pat Chapman and coming off a fast and impressive effort in a small stakes, will race in the Pennsylvania Nursery.

It was nine years ago when another colt with somewhat similar credentials appeared in the Nursery. The colt was running so fast in the heart of the race that Servis turned to the owners (Pat and her late husband Roy) and said “too fast.” Turned out the colt was just too fast. That would have been Smarty Jones in his second start, winning by 15 lengths and getting a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

Res Judicata is a son of Smarty Jones out of Pat Chapman’s mare Mohonour. Like Smarty, he won his first start. Unlike Smarty, he did not get an 84 Beyer Figure. He got a 49 in his July debut at Penn National.

“He had some shins bugging him,” Servis said. “I said let me go ahead and run him. I know he’ll win and then we’ll stop with him.”

Res Judicata got the time and Servis brought him back in an allowance race on Oct. 21.

“I ran him in the allowance race against my other horse, Hard to Name, who I think is a very nice horse,” Servis said. “I needed him to help the race go, but I also figured he was probably going to need the race.”

Res Judicata finished fourth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Hard to Name.

Servis said that after the race, jockey Jeremy Rose ”was raving about him.”

The colt, Rose said, simply got tired because of the layoff. The next race, Rose told Servis, would be the payoff. It was.

“I expected him to run really well,” Servis said. “He ran even better than I expected.”

When Servis brought Res Judicata back in the Nov. 18 Christopher Elser Memorial at Parx, the colt was ready. He won by 6 1/2 lengths and got an 80 Beyer. The figure was nice, the effort nicer. Check out the video. The colt was sitting third behind a semi-speed duel, but the turn move was dazzling. It was one of those whoosh moves only horses with serious motors can make. Rose was looking around in the stretch, getting ready to pose for a picture.

“He’s come out of the race like a monster,” Servis said. “The only thing that scares me is it’s a little quick back because he jumped so much on his [figures].”

The Nursery has three or four horses with proven ability, so if Res Judicata is going to win, he will have to run fast again. But he will enter the race with the best Beyer.

“If he runs like I think he’s going to run, then he’ll be headed in this direction,” said Servis from Palm Meadows in Florida.

Smarty Jones did not get started until November. He won his maiden, getting an 84 Beyer and then blew up in the Nursery 13 days later. You know the rest of that story.

So what is this story?

Don’t know yet.

“It’s a little like Smarty because he’s not a big horse. He’s made a lot like Smarty,” Servis said.

Like Smarty, Res Judicata’s dam’s side traces back to In Reality, so there is also that.

Rewind to 2003 and Servis thought Smarty Jones was a good horse, but he didn’t really know. What did he beat? What would he become?

“I’m anxious to see which way [Res Judicata] goes,” Servis said. “I think I have a good horse. He hasn’t been going real far. Two turns, you don’t know about.”

The Nursery is seven furlongs.

And, yes, Pat Chapman is getting excited, telling her trainer that Chappy’s birthday (in 2013) just happens to fall on Derby Day.

“I said, ‘I thought you were going to tell me his birthday fell on Pennsylvania Futurity Day and we were going to have a shot at that,’ ” Servis said.

Pat Chapman said she did not want to jump the gun, and Servis told her “we definitely don’t want to do that.”

The Nursery will tell a story. And then we will all see where this story goes.