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Nov 19, 2004

Arkansas place to be for Derby preps

By: Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - According to many, Smarty Jones took the easy

road on his way to winning the 2004 Kentucky Derby. While most of the contenders

were in Florida, Smarty Jones was at Oaklawn Park.

Now two thoroughbreds from the Philadelphia area are being pointed toward the

Run for the Roses with Arkansas the starting point.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Afleet Alex and Nashua Stakes winner Rockport Harbor

are both expected to run in the three-year-old stakes races at Oaklawn Park. Afleet Alex has

 been based at Delaware Park and Rockport Harbor resides at Philadelphia Park.

Rockport Harbor has the same trainer as Smarty Jones, John Servis, and is undefeated in

 three starts. He is also ridden by Smarty Jones' jockey, Stewart Elliott. Owned by

Fox Hill Farm, Rockport Harbor has earned more than $90,000.

Trainer Tim Ritchey indicated that Afleet Alex will rest the remainder of 2004 and

come back at Oaklawn Park. Ritchey said his colt will either return in the Southwest Stakes

 in February or the Rebel Stakes in March.

Afleet Alex has a pair of stakes wins this year for owner Cash is King Stable. The

two-year-old captured the Hopeful and Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. He finished a close

 second in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on his way to the breeders' Cup

 Juvenile. In the race at Lone Stark Park, Afleet Alex made up for a poor start by finishing

 less than a length behind the winner Wilko.

Afleet Alex has won four of six starts for $680,800. He has been ridden by Jeremy Rose.

Should either of these colts step forward next spring, the Philadelphia area could again

 experience 'racing fever' similar to this year's.

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