Running of the Roses…for the 136th Kentucky Derby
And Da Horsey’s pick is Backtalk. Who is this horse? Well, the son of Da Horsey, SmartyJones!
One of last year’s top juveniles recently reappeared in black-type company in the one-mile Sportsman’s Paradise Stakes The race at Delta Downs witnessed Bashford Manor (gr. III) and Sanford Stakes (gr. II) winner Backtalk face the starter for the first time since his disappointing effort in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) last October.
Backtalk’s pedigree might not be a particularly flashy one, but there is no denying that he’s classically-bred. His sire, Smarty Jones , came close to claiming the Triple Crown; his broodmare sire, Affirmed, is the last horse to that coveted prize; and his second dam is by a son of Nijinsky II, the last horse to capture the English Triple Crown.
After taking the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), Smarty Jones produced one of the greatest losing efforts in classic history in the Belmont (gr. I), which proved to be his final start and his lone defeat. Prior to the classic, his 3-year-old season had brought wins in the Count Fleet, Southwest, and Rebel Stakes, and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). He’d started just twice at 2, taking a Philadelphia Park maiden by 7 1/2 lengths and the state-bred Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at the same track by 15 lengths. A son of Elusive Quality , out of a mare by champion sprinter Smile, from the Striking branch of the La Troienne family, Smarty Jones was the subject of intense competition from stallion farms. Ultimately, he went to Three Chimneys Farm in an unusual deal that saw the creation of a 60-share syndicate with a 50% percent interest in the horse being retained by his owners, Roy and Pat Chapman.
Update: The favorite Super Saver won the race and Ice Box came roaring down the stretch taking second. The long shot Backtalk didn’t fare well but remains a sentimental favorite.