August 2, 2004 - MIDWAY, KY........ Roy and Pat Chapman today announced that their 3-year-old phenomenon Smarty Jones has been found to have chronic bruising of the bottom of the cannon bone in all four fetlock joints and that they have made the decision to retire their colt.
This is a fairly common injury in horses, caused by the wear and tear of racing," said trainer John Servis. He would need three months rest before he should resume training. This would knock him out for the rest of the year.
He'd start back in training about the time of the Breeders' Cup," said owner Roy Chapman. "If everything went right, he might make the Dubai World Cup, but he might not. That's just too many "if's" for a horse of this caliber, who has done so much and who has given us so much," said Chapman.
"After all he's done, I couldn't live with myself if I thought we were putting him in harm's way," said Pat Chapman. "He doesn't owe us anything, and we owe him a LOT."
The condition was detected when Smarty Jones underwent a nuclear scan last week to determine if his feet were ready for him to proceed with training. The condition was reported to the Chapmans on Friday. They consulted with several veterinarians over the weekend "to make sure we're making the right decision," said Roy Chapman. "We consulted with John Servis, our primary veterinarians and veterinarians in Kentucky. We talked it over with Robert Clay and Three Chimneys supports our decision wholeheartedly. Everyone agrees that the Number One consideration is the horse."
"He had nine superb performances in eight months. It is this type of accumulated inflammation that causes all athletes to cycle in and out of peak form," said orthopedic equine surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage, who consulted on the case.
"If it were any other horse, you'd turn him out and bring him back to the track in late October and start building back up his conditioning," said trainer John Servis. "But this is Smarty Jones. I don't see anyway he can earn on the racetrack in a year what he can earn next spring in the breeding shed. And then you have the emotional trauma if anything should happen to him. I can't blame the Chapmans for retiring him."
"I think the move he made in the Preakness was just a preview of things to come. Smarty Jones has responded to every challenge in his life with enthusiasm, talent and every fiber of his being. I think he'll make a great stallion. continued Servis.
A stud fee has not been set for Smarty Jones. "We just found this out and so we have not decided upon a stud fee, but we will do so shortly -- probably in the next two or three weeks," said Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay. "Smarty Jones will arrive at Three Chimneys in a few weeks, we will give him some time to settle in, and will advise the public when he's ready for visitors," said Clay.
The Chapmans are planning to talk with Philadelphia Park about a farewell appearance by Smarty Jones at his home racetrack before he leaves for Kentucky. "We are deeply disappointed for his fans, but we owe it to Smarty Jones to do what is in his best interest, said Roy Chapman.
Smarty Jones has earned $7,613,155, making him the Fourth Richest Racehorse in North American racing history, and won eight of his nine career starts, beginning with his racetrack debut last November. He is one of only three undefeated winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and fell a length short of becoming the second undefeated Triple Crown winner in history when Birdstone won the Belmont S.-G1 on June 5. He won his two starts at age 2 by a combined 22 and three-quarter lengths and his eight career wins, ranging from six furlongs to a mile and a quarter, were by an average of almost six lengths.
At Three Chimneys, Smarty Jones will occupy the former stall of Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history. Three Chimneys is currently home to Silver Charm, the Fifth Leading North American runner and a near-Triple Crown Winner, and Point Given, 2001 Horse of the Year and also winner of two-thirds of racing's Triple Crown.
I think ten years from now we'll be saying that Smarty Jones was a great one on the track and a great one in the breeding shed," said Three Chimneys President Dan Rosenberg. "He's by a world-record-setting miler by Gone West and he is directly descended from La Troienne. He became America's Horse with his speed, charisma and way of overcoming the odds. Now it's Three Chimneys' turn to give Smarty Jones every chance to show what he can do," said Rosenberg.