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A Q&A with Smarty Jones

Smarty takes questions from Fred Faour in the Houston Chronicle. Its a good interview. Here's a sampler:

Q -- If you win the Belmont, you will become the leading money earner of all time in thoroughbred racing, thanks to $10 million in bonus money. What do you think of that?

A -- I need an agent. I haven't seen any of that money. All I want is one of those plasma TV's in my stall, and maybe some extra oats and peppermints. Is that too much to ask?

Q -- What's your favorite snack?

A -- Lion Heart. Sorry he's going to miss the Belmont.

Q -- What do you hope to do after the Belmont?

A -- Win a bunch more races, retire at 4 and go to stud. I'm not ready to think about retirement yet, but the idea of people bringing you fillies every day for a couple of months sounds pretty darned appealing.

It's a funny piece, worth reading. Not to be missed however - should you care about the most interesting horse since Spectacular Bid (twenty three years ago) - is Faour's serious piece in the same issue. Here's a snip:

Smarty's accomplishments so far are impressive enough. If he wins on Saturday, he will be just the second horse to emerge from the Triple Crown undefeated (Seattle Slew was the other).

He has won at eight different distances on five different tracks, all with jockey Stewart Elliot aboard. Only one horse has finished closer than a 1 1/2 lengths to Smarty. His win in the Derby was visually impressive, as he dominated a good field on a sloppy track.

But the Preakness was a race for the ages. In that race, Smarty took control on the turn and drew off to an 11 1/2-length victory, the largest margin in the history of the race.

But that doesn't even begin to tell the story of how impressive he was that day. The final time of 1:55.59 was faster than the 1:55.89 run the day before in the Pimlico Special for older horses. That race was won by Southern Image, a 4-year-old who has won five straight and emerged as one of the best older horses in the country. In addition, the Pimlico surface was playing slightly faster on Special day than Preakness day.

The Beyer speed figure for Smarty Jones' Preakness was 118, the highest in a Triple Crown race since Easy Goer's 122 in the 1989 Belmont, which was the second-fastest Belmont ever run.

Globeform (www.globeform.com), an international racing service, gave Smarty Jones a 141 rating for his Preakness. It is the highest number ever given by the service. According to the Web site, Smarty "is the best horse since Globeform ratings were introduced in 1990."

That's the best in the world over that period.

The race is this Saturday; mark your calendars.