06/25/2004 12:00AM

Three Chimneys lands Smarty in $48M deal

Smarty Jones (left) with exercise rider Pete Van Trump returns to track Friday alongside trainer John Servis.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Smarty Jones, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, will stand at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., upon his retirement from racing in a deal that bloodstock insiders said will put his total value at about $48 million.

That would make Smarty Jones the second most expensive stallion prospect to be syndicated behind Fusaichi Pegasus, the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner whose total value was put between $60 and $70 million in a deal engineered by Coolmore Stud.

Smarty Jones's owners, Roy and Pat Chapman, announced the deal on Friday but did not disclose the price. They sold a 50 percent interest in the colt to Three Chimneys, which will syndicate its breeding rights.

There was no immediate word on when the colt would retire, though the Chapmans have said that insurance costs for the colt could become prohibitive if they were to campaign him at 4. Three Chimneys announced the deal in a statement but said only that "the agreement calls for the Chapmans to make all racing decisions regarding Smarty Jones's schedule, and they will decide when he retires."

Smarty Jones currently is stabled at Philadelphia Park, where trainer John Servis took the horse to the racetrack Friday morning for the first time since he finished second behind Birdstone in the June 5 Belmont Stakes.

"He just jogged a mile," Servis said. "It was fine."

He is pointing to either the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8 or the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 6 as his next start.

The Chapmans' agreement with Three Chimneys establishes an innovative 60-share arrangement, unusual in that it is larger than traditional syndication agreements that generally top out at 50 shares. Three Chimneys would not disclose the price for each of the shares it will offer to bloodstock investors.

"This is the first one I'm aware of," Three Chimneys president Dan Rosenberg said of the 60-share arrangement. "We thought 60 shares made shares more affordable, and the arithmetic worked out. We've limited the horse contractually to 110 mares, plus a Breeders' Cup season. When those are gone, if a champion or the dam of a champion comes around, she'll have to wait until next season to breed."

"We have come to appreciate the idea of syndicating him to broaden his ownership and the base of mares to support him," Roy Chapman said. "But we also like the idea of retaining half ownership so we can stay involved with his career."

Under the agreement, Smarty Jones will not shuttle, fulfilling a stipulation the Chapmans had set in negotiations with farms.

Smarty Jones's stud value vaults him past other major syndication values. Shareef Dancer was valued at $40 million in 1983. In 1996, Epsom Derby winner Lammtarra was sold to Japanese interests for $38.4 million, and Conquistador Cielo's 1982 syndication put his value at $36.4 million.

The Chapmans also had stipulated that any farm standing Smarty Jones be open to visitors interested in seeing the horse. Three Chimneys has had experience with popular horses before. As home to 1980 Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk, one of only three fillies ever to win the race, the farm dealt with massive media and fan interest when she produced her first live foal, Genuine Reward, in 1993. Three Chimneys also stood 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew until 2003. Owners Mickey and Karen Taylor moved the stallion that year to Hill 'n' Dale Farm, where he is buried.

Three Chimneys currently is home to 1997 Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm, among other stallions.

"We have an open visitor policy," Rosenberg said, adding that the farm has about 10,000 visitors annually. "We have regularly scheduled tours and also handle VIP groups. I do anticipate that the traffic is going to increase with Smarty Jones's arrival, and we'll be geared up for it. We'll do everything we can to accommodate his fans while looking out for the horse's best interest and conducting our business."

Smarty Jones's record 11 1/2-length winning margin in the Preakness, his attempt to emulate Seattle Slew as an undefeated Triple Crown winner, and his immense public popularity fueled farms' interest in Smarty Jones. The colt's second-place finish in the Belmont apparently did not dent the hype, which some in Lexington compared to the buzz that surrounded Secretariat in 1973 before he was syndicated into 32 shares for a then-record $6 million.

Talks began in Philadelphia in late May with representatives from about 10 farms meeting with the Chapmans, who also were represented in subsequent negotiations by advisor George Isaacs. The field gradually narrowed to a handful, with Robert Clay's Three Chimneys in Midway, Ky.; Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's Darley organization, which owns Lexington nursery Jonabell; and Will S. Farish III's Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., said to be among the finalists.

"In no way does this signal Smarty's retirement," Roy Chapman said. "We decided before the Preakness that we would talk to stallion farms and plan his future in a studied way. He has been so good to us that we want to make sure we do right by him."

- additional reporting by Marty McGee