It was over.
"I was actually right behind the winner, but he's very, very special," Stevens said after the race. "We might be seeing a Triple Crown winner. My horse had another gear, but Smarty Jones had four more gears. Smarty really reminded me of Secretariat the way he pulled away."
Rock Hard Ten finished second, two lengths in front of Eddington. Lion Heart faded to fourth.
"I stayed after him and kept him in as best I could," Smith said of Lion Heart, "but Smarty Jones was just amazing today."
As the 3-5 favorite, Smarty Jones returned $3.40 to win. The exacta paid $24.60.
As Smarty Jones galloped down the homestretch, Servis watched quietly, with a look of silent pride on his face. After winning the Kentucky Derby, the trainer hesitated to automatically commit to running Smarty Jones in the Preakness. After deciding to run, the trainer went lightly on his horse, putting him through no workouts, only gallops around the Philadelphia Park track.
"Mr. Servis," Elliott said at the postrace news conference. "the last time you credited me. This time, I'm crediting you. [Smarty] just took me around."
Roy Chapman, however, wanted to make sure the jockey, who has toiled throughout his 20-year career in anonymity in Philadelphia, received his just due.
"I remember someone in Kentucky calling him 'Stu Who?' like he was a novice rider," Chapman said. "If that's a novice rider, I'll kiss a horse's butt."
With a three-week rest before the Belmont on June 5 -- if you can call a build-up to a possible Triple Crown winner a rest -- Servis sounded more confident than ever about Smarty Jones, who now has no more questions to answer other than one about just how great he is.
"I don't think we've gotten to the bottom of him yet," Servis said.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Smarty Jones makes move on the inside of the fourth turn. "My horse had another gear, but Smarty Jones had four more gears," said Rock Hard Ten jockey Gary Stevens. "Smarty really reminded me of Secretariat the way he pulled away."
(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
| • In position to capture horse racing's first Triple Crown since 1978, Smarty Jones is being embraced in his hometown of Philadelphia.|
• Andrew Beyer: All can jump on the Smarty Jones bandwagon now.
• Smarty Jones left a lasting impression at the Preakness.
• Smarty Jones wins the Preakness by a record 11½ lengths.
• Thomas Boswell: The long wait is almost over.
• Rock Hard Ten ran to a strong second-place finish.
• Notebook: Jockey Ramon Dominguez paid tribute to fallen rider Rick Wilson.
• William Gildea: Never underestimate horse sense.
_____ Gallery _____ • Smarty Jones captures the second leg of the Triple Crown in record fashion.
_____ Live Online _____ • Handicapper Liam Durbin of e-ponies.com took questions Friday.