When jockey Elliott looks back, it's all right

Pulling away from past, rider puts distance on foes and Crown in his sights

Preakness Stakes

May 16, 2004|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

Jockey Stewart Elliott looked over his shoulder as Smarty Jones ran away from the Preakness field yesterday, hoping to see Rock Hard Ten and Eddington drop away as he charged to a record victory in the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

"There was nobody in front of me," Elliott said. "I was concerned if anybody was coming from behind. Once I asked him, we straightened up and I asked him, I just exploded. Then I looked back and saw nobody was even coming, so it was going to be pretty easy."

The last couple of furlongs of the 129th Preakness at Pimlico Race Course were the first thing that has come easy for Elliott, who has been looking over his shoulder for the past two weeks as revelations about his past turned into headlines that diverted attention away from one of the most compelling horses to come along in decades.

"The past, you know, I just think about the past and I look where I was and now the future and look where I am," Elliott said.

Still, he will have to brace himself for an even bigger media onslaught, as the three-week buildup begins toward Smarty Jones' attempt to capture the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

"Well, I think I'm getting used to it," Elliott said. "I imagine it's going to be the same, but I'm handling it all right and we'll just deal with it."

First time's the charm

Jockey Stewart Elliott and trainer John Servis both won the Preakness on their first try yesterday, the ninth time in the past 44 years the feat has been accomplished:

Year Horse Jockey Trainer

2004 Smarty Jones Stewart Elliott John Servis

1986 Snow Chief Alex Solis Melvin F. Stute

1982 Aloma's Ruler Jack Kaenel John J. Lenzini Jr.

1976 Elocutionist John Lively Paul T. Adwell

1975 Master Derby Darrel G. McHargue W.E. Adames

1974 Little Current Miguel Rivera T.L. "Lou" Rondinello

1971 Canonero II Gustavo Avila Juan Arias

1965 Tom Rolfe Ron Turcotte Frank Y. Whiteley Jr.

1961 Carry Back John Sellers Jack A. Price

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