From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FoaledApril 17, 1976
CountryUnited States
BreederJim & Eleanor Ryan
OwnerRyehill Farm
TrainerWoody Stephens
Record27: 11-8-2
Major wins
Illinois Derby(1979)
Pennsylvania Derby (1979)
American Derby (1979)
Woodlawn Stakes (1979)
Ohio Derby (1979)
Marylander Handicap (1979)
Senatorial Stakes (1978)
City Of Miami Handicap (1978)

Smarten (April 17, 1976 – March 31, 2003)[1] was an American Thoroughbred racehorse and successful sire. Bred in Maryland by Jim and Eleanor Ryan and raced under their Ryehill Farm banner, he had a record of 27: 11-8-2 with career earnings of $716,426.

Early career[edit]

Smarten was a versatile horse that won in route races and won sprint, he won on the dirt and won on the turf. Smarten was also a very consistent colt that performed well and gave his all in every outing. His winning percentage of 11 out of 27 of 41% is exceptional, but his in-the-money percentage of 22 of 27 lifetime towers over all but the greatest of thoroughbreds racing over two dozen times at an incredible 81%.[2]

In his two-year-old season he won four of five races that included a maiden win, an allowance win and two stakes wins. He won the City of Miami Handicap a stakes race for two-year-olds at Calder Race Course. Smarten also won the Senatorial Stakes at Laurel Park Racecourse in the winter of 1978.

Three-year-old season[edit]

In his sophomore year of 1979, Smarten, trainer Woody Stephens and jockey Sam Maple teamed up to accomplish accolades that connections of any colt would be proud of. Smarten placed in the top three in 15 of 17 races in one year including six graded stakes wins - Woodlawn, Illinois Derby, Pennsylvania Derby, Ohio Derby, American Derby, Marylander in a row! Also, six graded stakes runner-up finishes - in a row - Travers, Secretariat, Lawrence Realization, Rutgers Handicap, Meadowlands Cup, Discovery. Maple rode Smarten to wins in four grade two Derbys, capturing the Illinois, the Pennsylvania Derby, the American and the Ohio while placing a close second by a head in the grade two Arkansas Derby.

His trainer was meticulous about planning and picking the right spots for his colt. Stephens intentionally avoided hooking up with that year's super horse Spectacular Bid in the Triple Crown races. He was quoted as saying, "why run in a race for place money when I can run in a race and win the lion's share of a $150,000 purse.[3]

Smarten also won the grade three Marylander Handicap at Bowie Race Course and the grade three Woodlawn Stakes on the turf at Pimlico Race Course at age three. He had a great stretch run placing in the grade one Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course finishing second. Other second-place finishes in his three-year-old season were the grade two Meadowlands Cup, the grade two Arkansas Derby, the grade one Secretariat Stakes on the turf at Arlington Park, the grade three Rutgers Handicap, and two grade two stakes races at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Lawrence Realization Stakes and the Discovery Handicap. He concluded his career with a third-place finish in the Jockey Hollow Handicap at the Meadowlands Racetrack.


As a sire, Smarten notably produced Classy 'n Smart, a Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee and dam of U.S. and Canadian Hall of Fame filly, Dance Smartly, Smart Guy, Pennsylvania Derby winner, and of the outstanding sire, Smart Strike. Smarten died March 31, 2003.


  1. ^ Horse Profile for Smarten Equibase
  2. ^ Pedigree Online, Thoroughbred Database [1].
  3. ^ Maryland Jockey Club Media Guide, 1989, Article on Maryland Breds, pages 38-39.