Finally a winning bid? Spectacular
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"I haven't really thought about history," said Servis, who plans to ship Smarty Jones to Belmont Tuesday night or Wednesday. "You just work so hard to get to the Derby. When we won, we made a plan for the Preakness. After the Preakness, it was the same thing, laying out a game plan for the Belmont. I haven't let myself think about what it would be like to be part of history, but if we win the Belmont, it will probably hit me like a sledgehammer.
"I enjoy having good horses, and I'd love to have a barn full of them. But at the same time, I want my family to be happy and for us to be in a comfortable situation. I'm a country boy at heart. I've always considered myself a horseman. My first love is family and my second love is horses. What you see is what you get and what you get is me. Whatever happens, I'll be back in the barns the next morning."
Those who are waiting for Elliott to make a mistake should stop holding their breath. After 23 years in the saddle, Elliott is now considered an overnight success. The truth is that since the day he showed up at Suffolk Downs in 1983, he's been a fine rider in search of a break. Servis is staying at Philadelphia Park for the immediate future, but Elliott is heading for the higher ground at Monmouth Park this summer.
"Stew is a very cool customer," said Servis. "He knows this is the biggest race of his life but, like me, he knows we have a mission to accomplish, and we're going to do the best we can to get it done. He's not going to be hindered by the crowd or the other jockeys. He knows what he's sitting on. Stew is not a Philadelphia Park rider. He's a very, very good rider. He ended up at Philadelphia Park because he needed to get somewhere to start over. He wants to go on and do bigger and better things, and this horse can do that for him."
Thoroughbreds are natural milers. The strongest of them can attain 1 1/4 miles in top form. But, at 1 1/2 miles, all bets are off. They either can do it or they can't. If Smarty Jones can't, there are going to be a lot of disappointed fans. If he can, it will be the biggest story in racing since Seattle Slew won the Belmont.
"I don't know, but if they ever do an autopsy on Smarty Jones, I think they'll find he has a huge heart, or a huge vascular system," said Servis. "There's something very special about this horse."
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