03/20/2004 12:00AM

Smarty Jones victorious in Rebel

Jeff Coady / Coady Photography
Smarty Jones runs his career record to 5-for-5 by winning the Rebel Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Smarty Jones ran his career record to 5-for-5 with a dominating, three and a quarter length win over favorite Purge in the $200,000 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

With the victory, Smarty Jones is the lone 3-year-old eligible for the $5 million Centennial Bonus from Oaklawn. To cash in, he will have to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 10 and the Kentucky Derby on May 1.

Smarty Jones($9) rated about a length behind Purge, who put up controlled fractions of 23.40 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.60 seconds for the half-mile mark, and 1:12 for six furlongs. Smarty Jones pulled alongside Purge into the stretch, overtook him soon afterward, and powered home. He covered the mile and a sixteenth over a fast track in 1:42.

"He finished strong," said Stewart Elliott, who rode Smarty Jones for trainer John Servis. "Early on he settled a little more, and at the end he was a stronger horse."

Pro Prado finished third, three and three quarter lengths behind Purge. Mr. Jester, who was second choice in the wagering, finished sixth in the Rebel.

Smarty Jones began his career at Philadelphia Park with a seven and three length maiden win. He went on to win the $60,000 Pennsylvania Nursery later in the month by 15 lengths, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

Smarty Jones returned to action on Jan. 3 and won the $85,000 Count Fleet at Aqueduct by five lengths, then went on to a three-quarter length win in the $100,000 Southwest at Oaklawn.

He earned $120,000 for his win in the Rebel, which improved his career earnings to $278,355. A son of Elusive Quality, Smarty Jones races for his breeder, Someday Farm.

Servis said the next stop for Smarty Jones will be the Arkansas Derby. The colt is based at Oaklawn.

Attendance at Oaklawn was 34,520. Handle on the 11-race card was meet-high $6.5 million.