Jockeys responsible for calming horses


June 08, 2008

John Servis, trainer of Smarty Jones, the thoroughbred who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but lost the Belmont Stakes in 2004, made some thought-provoking comments about his horse ("Not left in dust," June 3). Servis said his horse didn't settle down, and when jockey Stewart Elliott tried to pull him back, the horse "grabbed that bit and went some more."

A similar incident, not quite like Smarty Jones' but ending in the same disappointment, took place in 1979 when 19-year-old Ron Franklin missed the Triple Crown aboard Spectacular Bid.

When I interviewed Franklin for an article in The Valley Times in October 2004, he was forthright in his response to my question about what went wrong.

"I let him go too soon," Franklin said. "I should have held him back."

When I asked him about the safety pin his horse stepped on in his stall the day before the race, Franklin said it wasn't a factor. He took full blame and as the years passed he ran the race a thousand times over in his mind.

Trainer Grover "Bud" Delp and Spectacular Bid have died. Franklin I'm sure will be rooting for Big Brown in the Belmont while reliving his shot at the Triple Crown in 1979.

Ellsworth Boyd

White Hall

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