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Friday, June 04, 2004

And I Thought They'd Be Writing About Julio Franco

SportsProf checked out the local Philadelphia papers today to see how much ink they'd give to Smarty Jones and horse racing on the eve of the Belmont. Smarty Jones, the Bucks County horse, is a 2-5 favorite going into the Belmont, and could be an even bigger favorite at race time tomorrow. Rain is in the forecast, and Smarty Jones runs well in the mud (witness the Kentucky Derby), so there is a decent chance that Smarty Jones will be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. (SportsProf is almost certain that similar things were written about the Belmont favorites in six of the past eight years, when the favorites were the ones with a chance to win the Triple Crown). At any rate, the Philadelphia Daily News has 20 articles on its website about horseracing, including one by Dick Jerardi whose headline states that the horse is just too good to lose. For those who are not in the Philadelphia orbit on a regular basis (and it's a great place to be during the college basketball season), Jerardi did pick the St. Joe's Hawks to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. I do believe that there he thought there was a chance they could lose.

Poor Philadelphians. The Bucks County-ites seem rather mellow, as they try to distinguish themselves because they have Bucks County Coffee, proximity to the Delaware River, they might work in central New Jersey, you name it. But the Philadelphia sports fan has a bit of a swagger at the moment, owing totally to the notion that a potential all-time champion is in their midst.

Forget the Phillies' injury problems, the combination of McNabb and Owens, the NBA Draft -- all eyes are upon Smarty Jones. And his owners. And his trainer. And his jockey. And probably forty-two other people who are friends of the cousin of the guy who prepares the horse's food. An autographed horsehoe, anyone?


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