I was the ground level paddock and stretch run video cameraman that Spring at Oaklawn in 2004. We had a lot going on that season since we were celebrating the track's 100th anniversary. We ( the video crew ) weren't that impressed with Smarty's win in the Southwest Stakes at a Mile. It was just a so-so workman like race. But then came the Rebel at a mile and 1/16 and it was as if a voice from the clouds said " I am Smarty Jones and I will win the Kentucky Derby"! When he sucked up the front runners on the turn and turned for home, myself and the main pan-camera man straight up above me had Smarty dead centered in our view finders. Then he re-broke, and I mean RE - BROKE ! My compadre on the pan - camera and myself made unintelligible noises . He shook our cameras and our minds . Then he flew home in about 6 seconds flat for the final 1/16th. I've never seen a more laid-back racehorse in the paddock or post - parade or pre-race warm-ups. But when he approached the gate to load, the ears would come up, the nostrils would flare, and what came out of the front of that gate when the field broke was not the same horse that entered the back of it. He was very, very, special. He was on front pages, editorial pages, nightly TV news , the internet etc., etc. That Spring of 2004 was truly his. I've never seen a horse that wasso popular and loved.
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