As the fog still hung above the rolling fields on an unseasonably cool morning, Smarty Jones took his first look at his new Kentucky home. The popular thoroughbred arrived yesterday morning at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., where he will stand at stud.
"He was one of the special race horses of our time," said farm owner Robert Clay, who flew in from New York to see Smarty Jones's arrival. "This is a special day."
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner left his home state of Pennsylvania Sunday night, a day after he was honored during a farewell appearance at Philadelphia Park. His owners, Roy and Pat Chapman, retired the 3-year-old colt two weeks ago after he was diagnosed with chronic bruising in all four hooves.
Smarty Jones missed winning the Triple Crown by one length, falling to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes on June 5, a race that proved to be his last.
Twenty-seven people -- most of them farm employees -- watched as Smarty Jones exited the van at Three Chimneys around 8 a.m., led by his new groom, Ruben Ramos. Smarty Jones walked into the courtyard between the farm's stallion barns and quickly nipped a sampling of bluegrass.
Fifteen minutes later, he entered his stall -- once occupied by 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew -- and it didn't take long for him to roll in the hay.
His new neighbors -- fellow stallions Silver Charm, Albert the Great, Sky Mesa, Point Given and War Chant -- perked up and took notice as Smarty Jones entered the building.
Three Chimneys' stallion manager, Sandy Hatfield, had not seen Smarty Jones before his arrival.
"He's a nice, quiet horse. It looks like he'll be easy to get along with," Hatfield said after watching Smarty Jones for a few minutes. "He's got a nice, kind eye. You can tell a lot about them when you look in their eyes."
Clay said the horse will have the next four months off. Smarty Jones will begin test breeding in December and start his stallion duties Feb. 15, he said.
Clay said he will determine Smarty Jones's stud fee, in consultation with the Chapmans, by Sept. 1. Smarty Jones will only be bred to 110 mares per year, according to the farm's contract with the Chapmans.
-- From News Services