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Smarty Jones gallops for some 4,000 fans

By Wire services
Published May 9, 2004

BENSALEM, Pa. - While Smarty Jones stirred fans in his first public gallop since winning the Kentucky Derby, the colt's jockey had little to say about his failure to disclose his criminal record on a license application.

"Everybody looks for something bad to say," Stewart Elliott said.

Elliott's story was a minor distraction at "Smarty Jones Day" on the colt's home turf at Philadelphia Park. More than 4,000 fans packed the park early Saturday morning to get their first glimpse of the horse.

They also gave Elliott an ovation. He pleaded guilty to assault three years ago but didn't disclose the information when applying for a license to ride at Churchill Downs. His agent, Ray Lopez, said Elliott made a mistake when filling out the form to ride in Kentucky.

"I'm not looking at my past, I'm looking at my future," Elliott said.

The future includes riding Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Mike Hopkins, executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission, said Elliott "has no problems here."

Hopkins said stewards at Pimlico asked Elliott to submit an amended application to ride in Maryland. He complied.

Elliott still could face disciplinary action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Smarty Jones looked fit and ready after another hard 11/2-mile run with exercise rider Pete van Trump aboard.

"He was full of run," said trainer John Servis, who wore a Philadelphia Flyers jersey on the track.

Smarty Jones walked and galloped last week on private runs on the closed track. It again was closed for any horse not named Smarty, only this time the park, normally deserted on a Saturday morning, was full of fans who enjoyed free doughnuts and coffee.

"I thought there might be 40 or 50 people. I didn't know," Servis said. "It shows you what a great place this is and how everybody loves this horse and rallies around him."

LOCAL COMPETITION: Trainer Martin Ciresa said he would run Little Matth Man, stabled 11 barns down from Smarty Jones at Philadelphia Park, in the Preakness.

JOCKEY INJURED: Jockey Rick Wilson was in critical condition after falling off Advance to Go, who stumbled coming out of the gate in the second race at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday. Wilson was transported by helicopter to the Shock Trauma Unit at the University of Maryland Hospital. There was no immediate word on the extent of his injuries. Wilson, 50, ranks 20th on the career wins list with 4,939. He has ridden in the Preakness five times.

HOLLYWOOD PARK: Rhythm Mad won his first stakes race, defeating Continental Red by a neck in the $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap. Ridden by Alex Solis, Rhythm Mad covered 11/2 miles on the turf in 2:26.73 and paid $5.40, $3.40 and $2.80 as the 8-5 betting favorite. In the $150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap, Pohave edged stablemate Marino Marini by 1 length. Even the Score won the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap.

[Last modified May 9, 2004, 01:40:27]


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