Originally created 06/27/04

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Horse Racing

Smarty Jones joins Three Chimneys

Smarty Jones will take up residence at Three Chimneys Farm, in Midway, Ky., at the end of his racing career under terms of an agreement with owners Roy and Patricia Chapman, who will retain a 50 percent interest in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner during his breeding career.

Financial terms were not disclosed but breeders speculated that widespread interest in rights to Smarty Jones would require the successful bidder to spend as much as $40 million. Three Chimneys will syndicate its 50-percent interest.

"In no way does this signal Smarty Jones' retirement," said Roy Chapman, who along with his wife retains the right to make all decisions regarding Smarty Jones' racing career, including its length.

The Chapmans demanded a farm with a liberal public visitation policy and refused to permit the horse to be shuttled to the Southern Hemisphere, as are many Kentucky-based stallions. Smarty Jones will be bred to no more than 110 mares per season.

"We've always welcomed fans to Three Chimneys Farm and look forward to sharing Smarty Jones with his public," owner Robert Clay said.

Pro Basketball

Raptors choose Mitchell to coach

Sam Mitchell was still on the job Saturday with the Charlotte Bobcats amid reports that he's been chosen to be the head coach of the Toronto Raptors.

Mitchell, a native of Columbus, Ga., played at Mercer University. He is the lead assistant with the expansion Bobcats and spent Saturday evaluating players at an open tryout session with the rest of the Charlotte coaching staff.

Charlotte team spokesman Scott Leightman said only that the Bobcats had given the Raptors permission to speak to Mitchell, and that they were aware he is a finalist for the job.

The Toronto Sun reported Saturday that the Raptors had chosen Mitchell over Seattle SuperSonics assistant Dwane Casey and Detroit Pistons assistant Mike Woodson. The paper said an announcement on the hiring could be made Tuesday.

Pro Hockey

Capitals choose Russian as top pick

Alexander Ovechkin became the second Russian player to go No. 1 in the NHL Draft when he was picked by the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Ovechkin, 18, was the top-rated European skater by the NHL's Central Scouting department. He was praised by scouts for his speed, size and stickhandling as well as his willingness to jump back on defense and land checks.

Washington earned the right to the top pick by winning the draft lottery after the regular season. After entertaining several trade offers by clubs looking to move up to No. 1, the Capitals decided the best move was to draft Ovechkin.

Pro Baseball

Indians sign Boone, August debut likely

Aaron Boone promises he's finished with basketball, and eager to help the Cleveland Indians rebuild.

The free-agent infielder signed a two-year contract with an option for 2006, and said the Indians' prospects for a resurgence with a talented core of young players was a key factor in his decision.

"I originally told my agents I would like to stay out west," said Boone, who recently moved to Phoenix. "Then I had a lunch meeting with (general manager) Mark Shapiro and (manager) Eric Wedge and came away saying, 'I want to be an Indian.' "

The Indians signed Boone to a $3.6 million, two-year contract with a team option for 2006 that could turn into a three-year deal worth $11.1 million.

Boone, whose 11th-inning home run in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series put the New York Yankees in the World Series, hasn't played since injuring his left knee during a pickup basketball game in January.

Boone will continue his rehab in Phoenix and join the Indians when he is cleared to resume baseball activities - likely in early August.