Smart Ellis is the Joe Btfsplk of Thoroughbred race horses. Bltfsplk is the Al Capp character in Li’l Abner who is the world’s biggest jinx. He walks around with a perpetually dark rain cloud a foot over his head. Once he appears on any scene, dreadfully bad luck befalls anyone in his vicinity.
“Steadied, five wide into stretch; bit awkward start; off slow, steadied; rallied, bump late; inside, bumped, steadied,” are but five of Daily Racing Form’s trouble line comments on Smart Ellis in his nine career starts. He seems to encounter the Bermuda Triangle in every race.
Richard Mandella is hoping for clear sailing for Smart Ellis in the Grade III Sir Beaufort Stakes scheduled for one mile on turf on opening day.
“He was born in trouble,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who conditions the chestnut son of 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones for long-time clients Wertheimer and Frere, who also bred the chestnut colt. “Even one race (on turf at Del Mar in July) he won he had trouble.”
With an erratic local weather pattern of late, there was a chance the race could be moved to the main track. “He’ll probably run any way,” Mandella said.
The field for the Sir Beaufort: Fit to Rule, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Press Baron, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Smart Ellis, Julien Leparoux, 9-2; Big Bane Theory, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Midnight Crooner, Martin Garcia, 3-1; Conspiracy, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Battle Force, Mike Smith, 6-1; and Silentio, Rafael Bejarano, 9-2.