Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Injuries forcing 'Smarty' to retire
Enquirer news services
The constant pounding Smarty Jones put on his hoofs in a brilliant racing career that brought him within one length of the Triple Crown forced his retirement from the sport on Monday.
Diagnosed with bone bruises in all four hoofs, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will stand stud at Three Chimneys Farm, occupying the stall of Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history.
It's an appropriate spot for the red chestnut colt who recovered from a life-threatening accident early in his career and won every race until his last one when he was caught in the final furlong at the Belmont Stakes by Birdstone and finished a length behind.
Trainer John Servis had plans for the spunky 3-year-old who nearly died a year ago when he fractured his skull in a starting gate accident. But the persistent bruising problem caused him to be scratched from the Sept. 5 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park, his home track.
Still, Servis hoped to run the horse in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Oct. 30 with perhaps a warmup in either the Super Derby on Sept. 25 at Louisiana Downs, or the Pegasus in New Jersey in late September or early October. Those plans ended abruptly when a bone scan last Thursday revealed the chronic bruising problem.
Servis was heartbroken.
"It hurts me," the trainer said. "He could do things so effortlessly. He might be the best of all time. It's unfortunate people won't see that. I know he's a great horse. I just hope it carries over to the breeding shed."
"It was a very difficult decision," said owner Patricia Chapman.
In nine career starts, Smarty Jones won eight races and earned $7,563,535, including a $5 million bonus from Oaklawn Park for victories in the Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby.
LOUISVILLE BOUTS: Promoter Chris Webb said Monday he wants to stage more fights in Louisville, building on the success of the Danny Williams-Mike Tyson bout.
"Within the next 120 days, I look to have another large event here in Louisville," Webb said.
On Friday night, a near-capacity crowd of 17,273 at Freedom Hall watched Williams deliver a stunning fourth-round knockout of Tyson, crumbling the ex-heavyweight champion's latest comeback bid.
Tyson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in Phoenix Monday to repair cartilage damage sustained during the fight.
A spokesman for Tyson said Dr. Richard Emerson fixed four tears in the knee apparently suffered late in the first round. Damage was more severe than anticipated and the doctor was surprised Tyson fought after hurting the knee.
OHIO OPEN: Brian Hinckley shot an 8-under-par 64 Monday at the Barrington Golf Club to take a four-shot lead after the first round of the 81st Sky Bank Ohio Open at Aurora. "Really?" said Hinckley when told he had shot an unofficial course record. "That's good. That's my second unofficial one in two weeks."
NHL: San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson was given a new multiyear contract after the best season in franchise history. San Jose went 43-21-12-6 last season, earning 104 points and the Pacific Division title.
ARENA FOOTBALL: Bud Adams, owner of the NFL's Tennessee Titans, finally delivered Monday on his promise to bring back an Arena Football League team to Nashville. The Kats will open camp in January.
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