Ten-year-old Madison Scott was playing in the backyard of her Texas home when her father yelled for her to hurry and come inside; history was in the making.
The television in the Scott family’s living room was tuned to The Belmont Stakes, the third and final race of the legendary Triple Crown.
And on that June day in 2004, sports fans like her father, who didn’t usually follow horse racing, paused to watch chestnut colt Smarty Jones make a flying bid at winning what hadn’t been won in decades.
“My dad called me in to watch. He said a horse was going to win the Triple Crown, and that it was something to remember, and it was something to see,” Scott says.
In losing the great race that day, coming in second to Birdstone, Smarty Jones won something else; he captured the heart of a passionate girl whose young life would change indelibly after that race.
Mad for Smarty
Sire: Smarty Jones
Foal date: Feb. 27, 2007
Career earnings: $115,619Little Madison Scott started by writing letters. Then she penned songs, drew pictures and sent birthday cards—all addressed to the dazzling racehorse who resided at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.
“By 2008, I was sending weekly emails to Three Chimneys Farm, and they always wrote back to me. They were amazing!” Scott says.
By the time she was 14, the fervent interest in all-things Smarty really grabbed hold. She subscribed to horseracing magazine The Blood-Horse—“I think I must have been one of their youngest subscribers!”— and she began to systematically follow the race careers of Smarty’s first crop of 88 foals.
She created a “virtual stable” that allowed her to keep track of all the races and standings of the superstar’s progeny, and every chance she got, she watched horseracing simulcasts.
And while her “non-horsey” parents watched from the sidelines, a bit bemused by their daughter’s zeal for the sport, admiration and respect for the child’s interest grew at Three Chimneys Farm, where, eventually, word of Scott’s passion for Smarty reached the horse’s owner, Patricia Chapman.
Chapman and Three Chimneys were so delighted by the girl’s passion that in July 2009 they flew her and her mother Lori Scott in for a visit.
For a week, they were ushered around Lexington, Ky., meeting everyone from Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay to Smarty Jones, and the racehorse’s owner.
“It was the most incredible experience of my life,” Scott says. “We’d drive down roads where, on either side, the greatest horses in the world were grazing. It was like a dream come true!”
Incredibly, while visiting the farm, Scott and her mother were asked to help name one of Smarty Jones’ colts. “Robert Clay told us he wanted a name that would honor his father, and all of his fans, but also reflect back on me,” she says.
In short order, the moniker Mad for Smarty was given the two-year-old.
“My mother actually came up with the name. Mad reflects both me, it’s ‘Mad’ for Madison, and all of the fans who were crazy for Smarty Jones,” she says.
When the week came to a close and Scott and her mother flew back home to Texas, the young girl was bursting with happiness.
She kept up a correspondence with Smarty’s owner, even visiting her once in Pennsylvania, and naturally, she paid extra close attention to Mad for Smarty.
“He did much better than the average racehorse,” she says with pride. “He ran in a graded stakes race and other stakes races and won over $100,000. He was definitely paying his way at the racetrack.”
Toward the end of September 2011, however, a ligament injury forced the retirement of Mad for Smarty. He returned home to Three Chimneys Farm to recuperate, and as he healed, Scott’s parents and Three Chimneys representatives began to talk.
Her parents were offered the opportunity to take Mad for Smarty, for free, and after weighing the financial ramifications of the decision, they enthusiastically agreed that the retired racehorse should live out his days with them, the family who named him.
On Jan. 7, an enormous horse trailer arrived at Bel Canto Farms in Wimberley, Texas to deliver Mad for Smarty to the young fan, who was speechless that day.
When handed the lead rope to Mad for Smarty’s halter, words failed, she says in her new blog, madforsmarty.blogspot.com.
With tears in her eyes, and the materialization of her childhood dreams walking quietly beside her, Scott led her new horse for a 30 minute stroll before finally settling him into his new stall.
She will work hard for the privilege of horse ownership, taking a job feeding, grooming, and cleaning at her barn to defray costs. And will begin retraining Mad for Smarty in the new discipline of hunter/jumper this spring.
And she will pinch herself for several more weeks to come.
“I’m so grateful to the incredible people at Three Chimneys, and to my parents,” Scott says. “And I’m so proud to have this horse, and to know that my passion and dedication helped lead me to him.”
44 responses to “Young fan given son of Smarty Jones”
I took the three chimneys farm tour in 2005, just to see smarty.still a fan to this day, I’m from new iberia, la.what an experience!!! I was even able to witness a breeding.smarty Jones to a storm cat
mare.her name was/is storming beauty.to this day, best vacation I will ever have.happy to see you have a smarty forever!!!!, oh! By the way, I even got the chance to see & pet my dad’s favorite stallion there.wild again 1st breeders cup classic champion! Congratulations young lady!!!!!!
Well, my goodness! It’s like a horse storybook for kids come to life. Wow! Nice story. (I used to write to Penny Tweedy and other horse people and to stables when I was a kid, but nobody ever gave me a horse, more’s the pity 🙂
I ride at bel canto farms, and I think that the horse is absolutely awesome. It’s so cool for her, and although I love my horse, it would be completely amazing to own him.
Susan, thank you for such a wonderful heartwarming story! Congratulations to Madison and her new best friend! It is so inspiring to see such kindness in the thoroughbred world!
Louise, as always, your comments mean so much to me. But no pressure. LOL
I also followed Smarty Jones’ career because his human step sister (Pat’s daughter) is my friend. I became a horse and horse-racing fan after that, and always wondered about Smarty’s babies especially (He is breaking records in the stud category as well!). My double-postage-stamp backyard will not hold a horse, but my husky and I who both love horses visit a friend’s farm and barn where the former thoroughbreds are trained as therapy horses.
This horse will have a great life and and this young girl is off to a fantastic start in her adult life.
What an amazing, heart warming story! I am so thrilled for Madison and wish her the best of luck with her horse!
Congrats to you Madison on your Off The Track Thoroughbred, I wish you many blue ribbons in the future! I have rescued several OTTB’s and loved riding every single one of them. They are pleasers with huge hearts. Kudos to Three Chimney Farms and the owner of Mad for shorty for doing something so generous for the horse and a horse crazy girl.
Mad for Smarty is one lucky horse to find his forever home with Madison. Not all OTTBs are so fortunate.
Excellent story Madison and very glad Mad for Smarty went to the person who actually named him! He’ll give you years of happiness and vice-versa that I am confident of. Three Chimneys Farm is a first-class operation and Jen is instrumental in that organization. Keep the blog up, cheers!
Congratulations! Best to you Madison and your new best friend. God Bless everyone who made this gift happen for the two of you……:)
Good for you, Madison!! I have a 1/2 brother of Smarty, a year older from the previous crop, sired by Elusive Quality. He is my love, my forever boy, and drop dead gorgeous. I promised him he would be with me forever and I will keep that promise. My other horse is a 1st grandson of Seattle Slew and also gorgeous. But “Max” is my lover boy. Breeding definitely shows when you have it in your horses, he will always be beautiful and you will have many wonderful years together, not to mention he is bred to be an athelete, have fun with that!!
What a wonderful heartwarming story, Congratulations Madison, I am soooo Happy for you and your new best friend.
What a wonderful story. I am so happy for you and Mad For Smarty. I, too, was a huge fan of Smarty Jones, but a little older than you. I was certain we would have another Triple Crown winner that year. I clipped and saved every article and just loved the horse. Last year, I was lucky enought to travel to the WEG in Lexington, KY and the first stallion tour we did was a visit to Three Chimneys to see Smarty. And what a gem he is. I was able to add my own photos to my collection. On Kentucky Derby in ’04, my husband and I were at a Derby party and found an abandoned orange kitten in the host’s pasture. He came home with us and was named Smarty Jones.
I have been a horse crazy person all of my life and own an off the track grandson to our last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed. My horse, Town & County is my horse of a lifetime and has brought so much happiness to my life. He will turn 23 next month and is going strong. It was great reading your story and so good to hear positive stories about second careers and forever homes to these wonderful athletes.
We were told that Smarty Jones was the nicest stallion in the barn. Not ever aggressive and so docile while we all crowded around to see him. I hope your horse got his great personality and I wish you much happiness with him.
What a wonderful story! An incredibly lucky girl and and even luckier horse to land where he did. Best wishes to both of them!
LOVE IT! Totally teared up. The best part of this story is this girl’s hard work. What a fabulous way to realize that yes, hard work and persistence helps you realize your dreams.
Omg, :’) This was such an amazing story! I cried! So heart-warming. Thanks to GreenHawk for showing me this. Goes out to prove that happy endings do exist!
Oh Madison what a wonderful story. You deserve all the happiness that Mad For Smarty is going to bring you. I was lucky enough to have my parents buy me my first horse when I was 17, and I haven’t looked back since. I retired in 2010 and bought myself a retired thoroughbred who is now beginning his new career in dressage. I love my horse, and thank the stars every day! Enjoy!!
Sorry, my email is email@example.com!
What a wonderful story! Yruly touching! Hey Madison, TBGreats.com would love to make a page on your new TB friend!
We make sites on famous racehorses and would love to add Mad For Smarty and make him part of our network! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hope to hear from you!
congrats to madison on her new OTTB!!! they are the best horses EVER–my guy just turned 23 and after a fun career in the hunters is teaching my kids.
WOW.. What a great story… Madison, just goes to show, never give up on your passions or dreams. I wish you all the happiness in the world with Smarty. Remember its not about the ribbons, or shows you attend, its about the wonderful jorney you take getting there. The two of you together, One of Gods greatest blessings he gives to us. Three Chimneys and Mrs. Chapman what a class act…..hugs
What a wonderful tribute for a former race horse. This may be the start of some wonderful gestures. Offering a retired race horse, especially geldings, a new lease on life. Find a young (or old) fan of racing, & graciously donate it to them. That would cut down the number of race horses ending up like the ill fated Exceller did, on a Japanese dinner plate! as so many have had happen to them. Thank you Three Chimneys for taking the first step! You are an example to follow!
Thank you very much for the kind words everyone! I am very blessed to have such a wonderful event occur so early in my life; the last few weeks have been incredible. I cannot wait to begin working with Mad for Smarty. I’ll be sure to let everyone know of our progress together.
Wow,maybe there’s hope for me to own Funny Cide!
Such a wonderful story. Congratulations!!! Who says no one in the racing industry has a heart?
Wonderful story! The tears were flowing. :). I own two OTTBs & know that speechless feeling when you finally have that lead rope in your hand. Good luck Madison & Smarty! I know you will enjoy many year of happiness together.
can I write the screen play for the movie? Olympics anyone? Shades of National Velvet!
I’m so happy for you Madison, you are so lucky to have the opportunity to love and care for Mad for Smarty!
How wonderful for her!!! I cannot turn off the tears!! I just lost my old retired race horse, Coalfield Kid about 2 years ago!! He was the best friend I ever had!!! Such a dream come true for this girl. And how wonderful of the farm to do this for her and for Smarty!! Have fun with him and enjoy him!!
Susan I LOVE this story!! As I read it, I felt the joy that Madison felt when she held her horse for the first time. Good luck to Madison and Smarty!
Just amazing! Congratulations to everyone involved in this beautiful story. Every horse should be so lucky:) Three Chimneys has a wonderful reputation, and for good reason.
I grew up near the Philly area and I was fortunate to see Smarty win the Nursery Stakes at Philly Park now Parx and I watched in person to see Smarty win the Preakness and geared up with a bunch of friends to go to Belmont and it was sad to see Smarty lose to Birdstone, but he left such a good feeling during that year of 2004. This is a feel good story and I have a 5 year old daughter who i take to a horse farm near by to show her the likes of Cat Thief, Monba, Delaware Township, etc. Around the spring is when the babies are out and she enjoys it. Its always a great thing to see this take place and Chapmans and Three Chimneys are great people to allow this to happen.
Awww I love this! What a dream. True to form, I was teary-eyed reading this – great story.
Congratulations to all involved. What a wonderful set of parents to give their little girl her wish. I hope she decides to go into a carrer with something to do with horses. We really need trainers, breeders with brains and compassion for the very animals that make money for them. Just to put them in claim races at the end of a geldings carrer and then kill them is really horendous. Hopefully Mad will enjoy jumping and enjoy life.
Hi Catmom9, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that I will go into the horse industry. My hope is to major in Equine Science then go onto a career in Thoroughbred breeding. There is nothing that I would rather do with my life than work in the racing industry. I’m working hard to make sure that happens!
Just love to hear about you and your horse’s life. Been a horse fan all my life. The first horse story I can remember was Thunderhead. Always wanted to be near the life of horses, but city dwelling leave you with a void for that dream. Nice to hear your wonderful story. Bless you and your horse friends.
What a wonderful story. It’s nice to hear good news once in awhile! Thanks so much for this post. Great Stuff!
Oh what a glorious story with a spectacular ending. Madison enjoy your horse . . . . I know you will!!!
The Triple Crown was won by two horses after Secretariat in 1973, Affirmed in 1978 an Seattle Slew in 1977. Wonderful story otherwise! What a lucky girl.
Christy, I’m so embarrassed. Thank you!
What a wonderful, inspiring story! Truly a tribute to the passion of a young lady for a racehorse by Three Chimneys and Mrs. Chapman. I want to follow their career on the show circuit and know they will make an excellent equestrian partnership!! I really know how it feels to ‘love’ a racehorse and to feel a part of that legacy!
This surprises me not one iota, neither the response nor the actions of Three Chimneys and the connections of Smarty Jones. Always the CREAM of the Class Acts, it has always been said…’class isn’t what one IS, it is what one DOES’
May Madison and Mad About Smarty have many years of joy together, and may their story touch the heart of every single breeder, owner, trainer, jockey, groom, hot walker, steward, track official, HBPA and NTRA member and official…and especially, please G-d, may it open the EYES of any person who has ever sent or thought about sending an ‘unwanted’ horse to slaughter.
Oh my, what an incredible, heartwarming story. Outstanding in every way! Good luck to a very lucky and sweet young lady and her new horse. Just so amazing of Three chimneys and the owner of Smarty.