He’s a million dollar horse. A $7,613,155 horse, to be exact. And his address?
Annville, PA 17003
Just south of where Routes 934 and 22 meet, near Blue Ridge Christmas Tree Farm, sits Equistar Farm, operated by Rodney and Sharon Eckenrode.
At Equistar, a very special horse has found new stomping grounds.
Philadelphia Inquirer sports reporter Dick Jerardi made the pilgrimage to Annville recently, like so many others have in the past, according to Jerardi’s interview with Eckenrode, who said that the farm receives calls or emails every day about Smarty Jones. “The horse got Christmas cards,” he told Jerardi, who quipped back in the article: “Of course the horse did. That’s because the horse is Smarty Jones.”
Smarty Jones was not Roy Chapman’s first horse, but certainly his best. Blood Horse has the history of the horse, which was born at the Chapman family’s Someday Farm in Chester County.
Smarty won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2004, leading to high hopes of a Triple Crown that fell through with his second place finish at the Belmont Stakes.
According to Jerardi’s article, the champion horse came to stand at Equistar this year through a connection to Brian Sanfratello, executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, who helped arrange a visit for Pat Chapman (Roy’s widow) to see the farm. “I was extremely nervous,” Eckenrode told Jerardi. “It was the most pleasant three-hour visit with a total stranger I’ve ever had in my life.”
Smarty Jones is currently bred to 30 or 40 mares during breeding season. Although he has produced 1,500 winners and 35 stakes winners, he hasn’t produced a “big horse”—at least, not yet.
This weekend, Win Win Win, a grandson of Smarty Jones, will appear at Churchill Downs in the 14th post position with 12-1 odds. As Pat Chapman told Jerardi, a win by Win Win Win on May 4 would have extra special meaning being the date that Roy Chapman would have turned 93. (The brother of Smarty Jones’ 2004 trainer is also going for his own Derby win this weekend, adding another thread to the story.)
If you want to see Smarty Jones, you can of course try your luck by contacting Equistar, but a safer bet might be planning a trip to Parx on Labor Day, when the horse is anticipated to appear as part of the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby will air Saturday, May 4 at 5pm on NBC.