Best known as the owner and breeder of Pennsylvania’s favorite race horse, Smarty Jones, Pat Chapman still loves horse racing. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Smarty Jones winning the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and his near miss at winning the Triple Crown. “I was introduced to horses when I met my husband, Roy Chapman. He used to ride horses and fox hunt, and I used to go along and watch. Then I thought I’d like to start riding, and I did, and we rode together. In 1985, Roy said to me he would like to buy a race horse, and I said, ‘let’s do it.’ We claimed a horse in Maryland from K.T. Leatherbury, and we were on our way,” said Chapman.


Pat Chapman with John and Sherry Servis, Dr. Patty Hogan cutout tribute to Bill Foster with KY Derby and Preakness trophies. Kim Pratt Photo

“We decided that Maryland was too far away for us because we wanted to have fun with the horse and spend time at the track with him, so we moved the horse to Mark Reid at Philadelphia Park. We enjoyed our time with Mark Reid, but his stable got so big that we felt we needed a trainer with fewer horses, so we switched to trainer Bob Camac. We also had a steeplechase horse in 1989 named Uncle Merlin that won the prestigious Maryland Hunt Cup. He ran in the Grand National at Aintree in England in 1990, and he led the race until the jockey fell off at one of the last jumps. That was an exciting time for us too,” said Chapman.


In 1988, the Chapman’s bought a 100 acre farm in Chester County where they planned to raise some homebreds to race. They named the farm “Someday” to remind them of all the things they planned to do someday. Someday Farm enjoyed modest success with their claiming horses, and the Chapman’s decided to buy some young fillies to race and hopefully breed when their careers were over. “We went to the Keeneland Horse Sale with Bob Camac and bought a yearling named I’ll Get Along. He trained her, and she was our best mare. She was a stakes winner, and she raced until she was 6 years old. On Camac’s recommendation, we bred her to Elusive Quality, and on February 28, 2001, Smarty Jones was born,” said Pat Chapman.


Pat and Roy Chapman after the Preakness.

On December 6, 2001 tragedy struck in the small town of Pedricktown, NJ when Bob Camac and his wife, Maryann, were found murdered on their back deck. Maryann’s son from a previous marriage, Wade Russell, was arrested and charged with their murders. He pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter and was sentenced to 28 years in prison. The horse racing community was shocked and saddened by the gruesome crime. “Their murders just took the heart out of Roy. Bobby was a great horseman, well-respected, and a good friend. We had already been planning to downsize, so we just kept two horses, one being Smarty Jones,” explained Chapman.


“We sent Smarty to Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida to be broke, and the farm manager, George Isaacs, called and told us that Smarty had talent and was a special horse. We got offers to buy him, but we wouldn’t sell. We wanted a trainer at Philadelphia who was willing to travel, and John Servis was recommended to us, so we sent Smarty to him. The adventure and thrill of our lifetime was just beginning,” explained Pat Chapman.


Pat Chapman with Smarty at Equistar.
Kim Pratt Photo

As a two-year old, Smarty Jones won first time out at Philadelphia Park, and two weeks later won the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes by 15 lengths at Philadelphia Park. He won his next start at three in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct, and then he was on the road to Arkansas and eventually the Kentucky Derby.


“We had a place in Florida, and we were wondering why John chose to go to Arkansas He told us he had heard about a $5 million dollar bonus that was being offered to any horse that won the Rebel Stakes, the Arkansas Derby, and the Kentucky Derby, so we were looking forward to the next few months. Roy’s health was deteriorating, and Smarty kept him going,” explained Pat.


Smarty Jones went on to win the Southwest Stakes, the Rebel Stakes, and the Arkansas Derby. Next stop was the Kentucky Derby, and Smarty was the first undefeated winner of the Derby since Seattle Slew. After Smarty Jones victory, he went home to Philadelphia Park to train until the Preakness. Once in Philadelphia, Smarty Jones fever took over the city. “I never saw anything like it. Thousands of people came to Philadelphia Park to watch Smarty gallop. They were lined up outside the gate waiting to get in. Governor Rendell was a big fan too, and he saw the excitement and fanfare in the city. At the time, he was pushing for the legalization of slots to help the horse racing and breeding industry in PA,” said Pat.


Pat Chapman and John Servis the day Smarty Left for Three Chimneys.
Kim Pratt Photo

“Smarty won the Preakness, and the Belmont was next. We could hardly believe it. The largest crowd in Belmont history cheered Smarty on, but unfortunately he was second to Birdstone. People blamed the jockey, Stuart Elliot, but it wasn’t his fault. Smarty beat himself. He didn’t listen to Stuart, and he got beat. That was Smarty’s last race. We wanted to race him later in the year, and race him as a four year old, but it didn’t happen. We gave him three months off, but he had chronic bruising of his ankles, and after four different vets examined him, we just couldn’t take the chance on racing him again. It broke my heart to retire him,” said Pat. “He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, and he also won the 2004 Eclipse Award for Outstanding 3 Year Old Male Horse.”


Smarty Jones stood at Three Chimneys in Kentucky for several years before moving to PA. He shuttled to Uruguay, moved to Calumet in Kentucky, and now stands in Annville, PA at Rodney Eckenrode’s Equistar Training and Breeding Farm. Pat Chapman still breeds in PA and races horses at Parx with her trainer John Servis, but she resides near Sarasota, Florida. Her husband Roy passed away in 2006. “Horse racing is exciting. There’s an incredible feeling when you see your horse running to the finish line, whether it’s a $4,000 claimer or a stake. A win is a win. Now I have Smarty’s offspring to follow, and I’m excited to watch Aoife’s Magic, a filly by Smarty that just ran fourth in the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct,”   said Chapman.


Pat Chapman with one of her babies at Equistar.
Kim Pratt Photo

“Smarty still has a fan club, and people send him birthday cards and presents. He gets visitors from around the world too. Last year a Japanese man who was at The Breeder’s Cup came to visit him for the day, and then flew back to California. Smarty Jones touched many lives and introduced young fans to racing. His celebrity helped pass the bill that legalized slot machines in PA and made PA racing what it is today. My husband and I were both in a long term recovery program for addiction, and Smarty helped us. I want people to know there is hope for recovery from addiction. I’ve been sober for fifty one years,” said Pat Chapman. “I have a fabulous life.”


Cover Photo Credit to Kim Pratt

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