Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - Smarty Jones, the winner of this year"s Kentucky
Derby and Preakness Stakes, will attempt on Saturday to become the 12th thoroughbred
to sweep racing"s Triple Crown. The Pennsylvania-bred is the sixth three-year-old
since 1997 with a chance to make history.
It has been 26 years since Affirmed outfought Alydar to sweep the Triple Crown races.
With a victory, Smarty Jones would join Seattle Slew as the only undefeated winners
of the Triple Crown.
Smarty Jones is owned by Someday Farm and trained by John Servis out of Philadelphia
Park. The colt has won all eight starts in his career and will once again be ridden
by Stewart Elliott. This year alone Smarty Jones has earned more than $7.3 million
and $7.4 million overall.
A $5 million bonus awaits Roy and Patty Chapman as owners should Smarty Jones become
the Triple Crown winner.
Coming off his record breaking victory in the Preakness, Smarty Jones has been
installed as the 2-5 morning line favorite for the 136th Belmont Stakes. He will start
from the outside post in the nine-horse field for the 1 1/2 mile event.
Peter Pan Stakes winner Purge will reacquaint himself with Smarty Jones. The two
faced off twice at Oaklawn Park, with Smarty Jones winning both meetings. Purge is
owned by Starlight Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher. The three- year-old will
break from post 2 with John Velazquez riding. Purge is a surprise second choice at
5-1 in the morning line.
Rock Hard Ten, the runner-up in the Preakness, is the third selection in the program
at 8-1. Rock Hard Ten will break from post 5 with Alex Solis in the saddle. Jason
Orman trains for Mercedes Stables.
The third place finisher from the Preakness, Eddington, is 10-1 in the morning
line. Eddington will be ridden by Jerry Bailey and start from post 8. Bailey is a
two-time winner of the Belmont Stakes, including last year aboard Empire Maker.
The chestnut colt is owned by Willmott Stables and trained by Mark Hennig.
Birdstone was the 8th place finisher in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness
to be fresh for this race. He is 15-1 in the morning line and will be ridden by
Edgar Prado from post 4. Prado was the winning rider in the 2002 Belmont Stakes
with Sarava. Birdstone is owned by Marylou Whitney Stables and trained by Nick Zito.
Royal Assault is coming off a win in the Sir Barton Stakes on the undercard of
the Preakness Stakes. The chestnut colt is 10-1 in the program and will start
from post 8. Royal Assault is owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Nick Zito. Hall
of Fame jockey Pat Day has the mount. Day is a three time winner of the Belmont
Stakes, most recently in 2000 with Commendable.
New York native Zito is still seeking his first Belmont Stakes victory.
Another entrant, who missed the Preakness after running in the Kentucky Derby, is
Master David. Master David was 12th in the Run for the Roses and most recently
3rd in the Peter Pan Stakes. The colt is owned by Georgica Stable and trained by
Bobby Frankel. Master David will start from the inside post and is 20-1 in the
program. Jockey Jose Santos is looking for his second win in the Belmont Stakes.
He was winning rider in 1999 on Lemon Drop Kid.
Other newcomers to the Triple Crown races are Caiman and Tap Dancer. Both horses
are 50-1 longshots.
Post-time is scheduled for 6:38 ET on Saturday. The weather forecast calls for
partly cloudy skies and a temperature of around 70. No rain is in the forecast.