BENSALEM, Pa. -- John Servis can breathe a little easier: Smarty Jones' final tuneup was flawless.
The trainer watched from the backstretch as his Triple Crown threat worked 7 furlongs yesterday morning at Philadelphia Park -- his only timed workout before the Belmont Stakes.
"Absolutely perfect," Servis said. "As far as I'm concerned, we're right on schedule."
With jockey Stewart Elliott aboard, Smarty Jones glided along the track so efficiently his hoofbeats were barely audible as he passed by the grandstand.
Though the time of 1:29.20 was slow, it was the type of work Servis was looking for to keep his Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner content.
"He got to playing a little bit toward the end of his cooling out period, and let out a few squeals," Servis said, "so I may let him get a real strong gallop Tuesday, or something along those lines. I'm real happy where he is right now."
So is Elliott, who rarely works out Smarty.
"He felt super," Elliott said. "He's the same old Smarty Jones."
Of course, there's still a week to go before the Belmont, when Smarty Jones will attempt to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978. But to have the final major workout over without incident is a huge relief. Especially since it went so well. Now that Smarty Jones has cleared a major hurdle, his training schedule tapers off: A walk today, a jog tomorrow, a gallop early next week, a van ride to Belmont Park either Tuesday night or Wednesday, and a gallop or two over a track he has never run on.