Equidaily Racing Journal
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The fans speak!
The fans speak!

Our occasional trip around the internet to sample some of the topics and opinions being discussed

Smarty Jones Retires

Fans upset

8/5/2004... On Monday of this week the other shoe dropped. At the end of July after trainer John Servis declared Smarty Jones out of the Pennsylvania Derby -- six weeks before the race -- fans and pundits alike were left to speculate whether or not we had seen the last of Smarty on the racetrack. Now we know. We have.

A thorough physical exam yielded evidence of some chronic bruising of the cannon bones. According to Servis, "This is a fairly common injury in horses, caused by the wear and tear of racing. He would need three months rest before he should resume training. This would knock him out for the rest of the year."

Owner Roy Chapman said, "He'd start back in training about the time of the Breeders' Cup. If everything went right, he might make the Dubai World Cup, but he might not. That's just too many 'if's' for a horse of this caliber, who has done so much and who has given us so much."

And so he is being sent to the farm, never to race again.

Fans are upset. After the Triple Crown the promise was there that Smarty would take us through an exhilarating late summer and fall -- at least three more races before retiring. Plus, the connections kept hope alive for a 4YO campaign as well. So Monday's news was not taken well by the majority of fans and pundits.

Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News noted that vet Dr. Larry Bramlage, one of America's foremost horse veterinarians, who consulted on Smarty Jones, said: "The risks are minor. We bring horses back from this injury all the time... There's nothing more than this accumulated inflammation. There are no structural problems. The prognosis for full recovery is excellent. There's really nothing to worry about."

Jerardi went on:

Once Bramlage spoke on a media conference call, a lot of people wondered whether Smarty really needed to be retired. The answer is simple. He didn't. The whole deal is quite a bit more complicated.

"This shook us up," Pat Chapman said. "We just didn't want to do anything to hurt the horse."

Could Smarty be unretired?

"You never know," Servis said. "Michael Jordan came back."

Gary West of the Dallas Morning News wrote: With the announcement Monday of Smarty Jones' retirement, horse racing dug deeper its shameful hole of embarrassment. Yet another potentially great horse has been retired prematurely, before ever having the opportunity to confirm his greatness; yet another star has left the stage after uttering only a few lines. The retirement of Smarty Jones is only the latest betrayal, but it might prove the most difficult to accept.

Andy Beyer: Shouldn't [breeders] feel some responsibility to promote the well-being of the sport?

Vic Ziegel of the NY Daily News: [Roy Chapman] and his wife are offended by any suggestion they're retiring Smarty to cash in on his potential as a sire. "I'm as heartsick as everybody else," Chapman insisted. "I'd love to have seen him race at 4." He could have made it happen.

Those were just some of the opinions expressed in the press -- the fans, for the most part, were even more vocal across the internet. Here's a sampling:

Here's what Final Turn forum members had to say:

Opinions of Derby Listers:

From fans at the Pace Advantage Forum:

Forum posters at Daily Racing Form:

From a thread entitled "Anti Chapman Bandwagon" at Thoroughbred Champions:


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