The dean of racing writers, Andrew Beyer, writes on Smarty Jones' retirement in the Washington Post:
Smarty Jones didn't accomplish enough to merit inclusion in a list of the sport's all-time greats. He ran one blockbuster race -- his 11 1/2-length romp in the Preakness.
However, he was dominating a 3-year-old crop that was of average quality at best. He never faced older horses. He never faced a truly formidable rival. The challenges that would have certified his greatness still awaited him.
It's a shame he won't get the chance. The irony is, if he were any other 3-year-old, or had he lost an early race by a narrow margin, he would stay in training next year in order to prove his greatness. We'd know. Even Secretariat, the last true icon of a horse, ran at four to cement his place in history. With Smarty, we'll never know how good he could have been.
Retiring Smarty is an economic decision by the Chapman's, and it's no use demonizing them. The decision just drives home the point that racing's economics are screwed up. As Beyer says elsewhere, "If he had raced for another year, he would have stirred more interest in racing than any 4-year-old in the last quarter-century." What might have been.... Read the whole thing.