05/07/2004 12:00AM

Smarty Jones lets loose during gallop at Philly

Email

On Thursday, trainer John Servis said that Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones was showing him signs that he wanted to do more in his morning exercise.

On Friday, Servis let him.

Instead of accompanying Smarty Jones with a pony during his morning gallop, Servis turned Smarty Jones and exercise rider Pete Van Trump loose Friday at Philadelphia Park. The result was a strong 1 1/2-mile gallop over a Philadelphia Park main track that had some moisture in it from early morning showers.

Though Servis called Smarty Jones's aggressiveness "a good sign," he noted that Smarty Jones "galloped a little faster than I would have liked."

Servis watched Smarty Jones from atop his pony near the finish line and grabbed him shortly after he completed his gallop. Servis was happy to see that Smarty Jones calmed down quickly.

"He's an amazing horse," Servis said. "Once his work is over he mellows right out. That's the maturity I was talking about."

While Servis has every intention of running Smarty Jones in the $1 million Preakness Stakes next Saturday at Pimlico, he does know that the horse will need a break sometime.

"Horses are not machines," Servis said. "He's going to tail off eventually. When? I can't tell you."

Add Little Matth Man to prospective field

Smarty Jones won't be the only Philadelphia Park-based horse to run in the Preakness.

Little Matth Man, who finished seventh in the Wood Memorial in his last start, will make his next start in the Preakness, trainer Martin Ciresa said Friday.

The addition of Little Matth Man brings the number of definite Preakness starters to eight. Also expected to run are Smarty Jones, Lion Heart, The Cliff's Edge, Borrego, Rock Hard Ten, Eddington, and Water Cannon.

Little Matth Man, a New York-bred son of Matty G, won the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct in February. A one-run closer, Little Matth Man finished second in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway in February and third in the Grade 2 Lane's End Stakes in March before his disappointing performance in the Wood.

Ciresa, who trains Little Matth Man for Vincent Papandrea, said Little Matth Man displaced his palate in the Wood, a race in which he finished 10 3/4 lengths behind Tapit. Ciresa will remove the blinkers and add glue-on shoes to Little Matth Man's equipment for the Preakness. As of Friday, Ciresa was still in search of a jockey.

"We were going to run in the Belmont, but it looks like this race might be the better spot to go in," said Ciresa, who noted that many Derby runners are skipping the Preakness to run in the Belmont.

Ciresa said Little Matth Man may work or have a strong gallop at Philadelphia Park on Monday and would ship to Pimlico on Thursday or Friday.

Smarty Jones's owners to get bonus check on Monday

Oaklawn Park president Charles Cella on Monday will present Roy and Pat Chapman, the owners of Smarty Jones, with a $5 million check. Smarty Jones earned the bonus for capturing the $200,000 Rebel Stakes and the $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, as well as the May 1 Kentucky Derby.

The bonus is the highest such payout in North American racing history, and it made Smarty Jones's win in the $1.1 million Kentucky Derby the sport's single biggest payday. Including the bonus, Smarty Jones's earnings stand at $6,763,155.

Cella created the Centennial Bonus this year in celebration of Oaklawn Park's 100th anniversary. The presentation will be held at noon in the Pennsylvania Derby dining room at Philadelphia Park.

Smarty Jones wintered at Oaklawn, and in addition to the Rebel and Arkansas Derby won the track's Southwest Stakes. His popularity has soared in Arkansas, and on Friday the state's governor, Mike Huckabee, issued a proclamation declaring May 14 Smarty Jones Day in Arkansas.

Kentucky officials investigating Elliott's license

Jockey Stewart Elliott, who rode Smarty Jones to victory last weekend in his first Derby ride, has admitted to the Churchill Downs stewards that his application for a jockey license was improperly completed because he omitted a felony assault conviction in New Jersey in 2000.

Mickey Sample, acting state steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, said stewards and the KHRA are investigating the matter.

"We may not have a finding until Wednesday or Thursday," said Sample, adding that he did not know what, if any, sanctions the KHRA could bring against Elliott for falsifying his application.

Sample said stewards had had a brief conversation Friday with Elliott, during which the 39-year-old jockey admitted that he answered "no" to a question that asked in part whether the applicant had ever been arrested for any criminal offense, either felony or misdemeanor. According to a report from WCAU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, Elliott was convicted of felony assault after an incident in a New Jersey bar.

Sample said it was unclear whether the omission by Elliott was on purpose. "There may have been a misunderstanding on his part," Sample said. "That's another thing we're looking into."

A copy of Elliott's license application shows that it was filled out on April 29 and processed Thursday by the KHRA.

Elliott did not return a message left on his cell phone Friday afternoon. A native of Toronto, Elliott has won more than 3,000 races and is the perennial leading rider at Philadelphia Park.

Swingforthefences works; unlikely for Preakness

Swingforthefences, the fourth-place finisher in the Wood, worked five furlongs in 1:00.08 Friday morning at Aqueduct. It was the fastest of seven drills at the distance. Though pleased with the work, trainer Rick Violette said there would have to be some defections for him to consider running the horse in the Preakness.

Violette said he would most likely run Swingforthefences in the Marine Stakes at Woodbine on May 22.

Churchill horses gallop as trainers look at options

Preakness prospects The Cliff's Edge, Borrego, and Rock Hard Ten all were out for routine gallops at Churchill Downs on Friday. All three are scheduled to have serious works there before being flown to Pimlico. Charter flights from Louisville, Ky., to Baltimore are scheduled for Sunday and Wednesday.

Two Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-olds stabled at Churchill - Bornwithit and Preachinatthebar - continue to be listed as possible Preakness runners, but Baffert has said they are highly unlikely to run, barring unforeseen major changes in the prospective lineup. Also, Nick Zito has not completely ruled out Sir Shackleton or Royal Assault, both owned by Tracy Farmer, for the Preakness, but those colts are far more likely to compete next in the Sir Barton at Pimlico or the Peter Pan at Belmont, although Zito has not decided on which race for which horse.

Meanwhile, one other Preakness hopeful, Derby runner-up Lion Heart, continues to train forwardly at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Trainer Patrick Biancone has said that he may have Lion Heart breeze at Keeneland before the colt ships to Maryland on Wednesday.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Mary Rampellini

Preakness contenders

Horses for the 129th Preakness at Pimlico on May 15. The field will be limited to 14 horses, with starters determined by a sliding scale of earnings.

HORSETRAINERJOCKEYLAST RACE
BorregoB. GreelyV. Espinoza10th, Ky Derby
EddingtonM. HennigJ. Bailey3rd, Wood
Lion HeartP. BianconeM. Smith2nd, Ky. Derby
Little Matth ManM. Ciresaundecided7th, Wood
Rock Hard TenJ. OrmanG. Stevens3rd, SA Derby
Smarty JonesJ. ServisS. Elliott1st, Ky. Derby
The Cliff's EdgeN. ZitoS. Sellers5th, Ky. Derby
Water CannonL. AlbertR. Fogelsonger1st, Tesio
Possible entrants
BornwithitB. Baffertundecided1st, CD alw
Friends LakeJ. KimmelR. Migliore15th, Ky. Derby
ImperialismK. MulhallK. Desormeaux3rd, Ky. Derby
Master DavidR. FrankelA. Solis12th, Ky. Derby
PreachinatthebarB. Baffertundecided7th, Blue Grass
SwingforthefencesR. Violetteundecided4th, Wood
Song of the SwordJ. PedersenN. Arroyo11th, Ky. Derby
TapitM. DickinsonR. Dominguez9th, Ky. Derby