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Smarty Jones wins hearts of many

June 1, 2004 at 9:19 PM

PITTSBURGH, June 1 (UPI) -- Smarty Jones, a horse that once cheated death, has caught the eye of many as he prepares to run the Belmont Stakes and possibly be a Triple Crown winner.

The red horse has already won the Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and The Preakness.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported Tuesday that trainer Bob Camac suggested that horse owner Roy Chapman breed his mare I'll Get Along to a young, unproven but well-bred stallion named Elusive Quality.

However, Camac, along with his wife, was killed by his stepson. The disillusioned Chapmans liquidated their stock, but the farm manager persuaded them to keep Smarty Jones.

Before Smarty Jones ever made it to the winner's circle he nearly died after a collision with a pole at the starting gate that resulted in so many fractures that surgery was impossible.

Every inch of the horse's head, except for one eye, was swathed in bandages and his fractures have healed nicely, veterinarian Patricia Hogan said.

Smarty Jones leaves his home stable at Philadelphia Park Wednesday for Elmont, N.Y.

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