Smarty Jones left Pennsylvania for Kentucky in August 2004. The 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner could be coming back to the state where he was born before the year ends.

"I want him in Pennsylvania," said Smarty's owner, Pat Chapman. "It just depends on [finding the right farm] and the right partners, work out some financial things. I would like to see it happen."

There is very little patience in the breeding world, even less in an economy that really has hit horse racing hard. Smarty's first horses to race came in 2008, months before the national economic meltdown. Smarty has not been a terrible sire. He is ranked eighth among all third-year sires. He just has not had the big horse and, thus, is not getting supported by breeders.

Which is why Smarty might make the reverse trip from Kentucky to Pennsylvania, where he would continue his stud career.

Smarty was vanned from Philadelphia Park to Three Chimney's Farm in Midway, Ky., six summers ago. His initial stud fee was $100,000. With the bottom falling out of the market and his best offspring racing in Japan, the stud fee was only $10,000 this year.

"The Japanese really, really want him," Chapman said. "We've turned down some nice offers from Japan. I keep saying, 'No, he's not leaving the country.' "

The Japanese want Smarty as a stallion, because his most accomplished offspring, the filly Keiai Gerbera, races there and has earned more than $1 million.

The Chapmans own half the breeding rights and must work out a deal with 20 other members of the syndicate that owns Smarty before he can be moved to Pennsylvania. The horse was divided into 60 shares in 2004. His value then was estimated at around $40 million. Obviously, it is nowhere near that anymore.

"He has so many winners," Chapman said. "He's just got to have an important one pop out sometime."

Smarty actually has sired 23 more winners than Birdstone, the horse that denied him the Triple Crown. Each horse has sired five stakes winners, but Birdstone's sons, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, won last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, respectively. So, his stud fee of $30,000 is three times that of Smarty's.

Chapman, meanwhile, said she plans to be at Philadelphia Park on Labor Day for the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. A casting of the Smarty Jones statue is scheduled to be unveiled that day.

Gov. Ed Rendell has said many times that slots would not have happened in Pennsylvania without Smarty Jones. In the summer of 2004, the horse got all that attention just as the final bill was coming up for a vote in Harrisburg. Purses have increased dramatically since slots came on line in December 2006. And the track's owners have made a fortune

"They owe a lot to Smarty," Chapman said of the racetrack owners. Yes, they do, and the statue will be a small payback. *