A stakes-winning son of Smarty Jones was retired to former Three Chimneys communications director Jen Roytz this winter after a lengthy and successful racing career.
In a development that brought her history with Smarty Jones and his son full circle, Roytz went from her earlier days writing about the talented 9-year-old gelding offspring of Smarty Jones, to owning him outright as of February.
“I spent a good part of my early career at Three Chimneys writing about I’ll Show Them. This was such a talented horse that his breeder Glen Hill Farm thought he was going to be a Derby horse,” Roytz says. “He was going to be an “it” horse, and he won his first and second race really impressively. He was one of Smarty’s first on-track results, so I was promoting the heck out of him when I started my career there. And in a weird way, it all came full circle, and I helped him end his race career.”
I’ll Show Them
Sire: Smarty Jones
Dam: Top Rung, by Seattle Slew
Foal date: Feb. 13, 2006
Earnings: 47 starts, $243,909Roytz, who left Three Chimneys Farm several years ago and has founded equine media company Topline Communications, took ownership of the 10-year-old gelding after his last race at Turfway Park.
After following the gelding throughout his career, admiring him from afar and keeping tabs of his whereabouts, Roytz reached out to more than one of the racehorse’s owners and trainers offering to buy him when they were ready.
And after she watched from the stands as the Smarty son finished a competitive third in his last race Jan. 30, Roytz finally received the green light she’d been hoping for.
“I texted his trainer to congratulate him on the race and he texted back, ‘He’s yours when you want him.’ And I went up to the track right away, paid for him, and his trainer was so nice to give me the rundown on the type of food he does best on, what his blanket size is, and was just generally really helpful.”
After 47 starts and earning just shy of $250,000, Roytz treated I’ll Show Them with a little R&R at Wild Aire Farm in Kentucky, where proprietor Ann Banks babied the strapping 16.3 hand “racetrack beast” with therapy for sore feet and muscles.
“I thought about turning him out for a couple of months, but Ann kept telling me, and I could see it, that he’s a horse who wants a job,” Roytz says. “So, we started with some basic walk/trot work around the farm, and so far, he’s fantastic. I’ve heard he was an absolute beast on the racetrack, and he’s every bit the strong, muscular horse he appears. So I think he’ll be a challenge down the road … but will eventually be a really nice hunter/jumper.”
The budding partnership between Roytz and the Smarty son is the best-case next chapter, says Craig Bernick, president of Glen Hill Farm. Recalling the high hopes of his farm when they bred their best mare Top Rung to Smarty Jones, Bernick says, I’ll Show Them was the nicest Smarty horse at their farm.
Although an issue with his feet, which was resolved, prevented him from selling at the Keeneland September sale, Glen Hill Raced him competitively as a 3 year old, says Bernick, noting that he ran impressively in his first two races and throughout a solid career. Toward the end of his racing days Bernick offered to buy him and retire him on the farm, where his mother still lives, but Roytz was pretty insistent. “I offered to buy him, but she wanted him really badly,” he says.
And somehow it is fitting that the horse and writer who got their start because of Three Chimneys Farm would wind up together in the next chapter of their careers.
“We knew Jen from Three Chimneys and about their support for aftercare … so I think it’s great for Jen to have this horse. She may not be at Three Chimneys anymore, but Smarty Jones meant a lot to them, and to her; He was an important horse,” Bernick says. “And there’s no doubt that I’ll Show Them was the best Smarty Jones that we had, and he was meant to be a very good horse. I’m really glad someone who had a connection to him and knows his story has him now.”