05/14/2004 11:00PM

Nobody can crash Smarty's party


It's two down and one to go for Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, who dominated Saturday's 129th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico with a 11 1/2 length victory in the second jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

Undefeated Smarty Jones sat just off a moderate early pace set by 9-2 second choice Lion Heart before rallying to the lead at the quarter pole and drawing off effortlessly down the stretch under jockey Stewart Elliot. He finished the 1 3/16th-mile race in a time of 1:55.59 over a fast track. Two horses who did not run in the Kentucky Derby, Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, completed the trifecta. Rock Hard Ten, who circled the field around the turn to move into contention, finished a distant second while never challenging the winner. Eddington closed late for third.

Smarty Jones paid $3.40 to win as the 3-5 favorite. Early leader Lion Heart tired to finish fourth. Smarty Jones, who is trained by John Servis and owned by Someday Farm, will now head to the Belmont Stakes on June 5 as a prohibitive favorite to become racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed last accomplished the feat in 1978.