He may always be known as the
son of the late legendary horseman Jere Smith, Sr., but trainer Jere Smith, Jr.
made boldfaced headlines of his own Wednesday by saddling a 4-year-old colt
named In All Directions to return a straight payoff of $155.20 – highest win
price of the 2011 Arlington Park season.
Owned by Michael and Shannan
Meehan and Byington Stables, In All Directions came under the care of the younger
Smith June 2, and after being far back early, the son of Argentine stallion
Seattle Fitz came charging down the stretch under a well-judged ride by
Francisco Giles to prove 2 1/2-lengths the best at the wire.
“I thought he’d go off at 30-1
or so,” said Smith Thursday morning during training hours, “but I knew he’d run
better than a 30-1 horse. In fact, I told several people to bet on him
and they did, but I never thought he’d be the biggest win price of the
season. All I did was to make a few changes in his training after he came
into my barn.”
Jere Smith Jr. is now 49 years
old and has been training on his own for 30 years, and past highlights in his
own career include saddling Panic Stable’s Boundlessly to win the 1993
Arlington Classic after finishing as the runner-up in the Arlington-Washington
Futurity the previous fall. He is also known for winning four races in
one day at Arlington
and has saddled more than 800 winners in his career.
However, he left the United
States to train in Saudi
Arabia for King Abdullah & Sons Stable for more than
five years and gradually fell off the public radar at Arlington
before returning to the local oval this season.
“I’ve got eight horses in my
barn right now, but I’m looking forward to building up my stable as the season
continues,” said Smith. “I’ve got two horses entered Friday and two more
in Saturday, including (Power Ten Farm’s) At the Finish in the Isaac Murphy
“She’s been working good for me (including a
half-mile in 47.80 Tuesday),” Smith said of the homebred 6-year-old gray mare,
“but she’s coming off a five-month layoff and I’m throwing her in against some
heavy hitters. I hope she runs well, but I am a little concerned
about the layoff.”
Incidentally, the possibility
of remaining in his more famous father’s shadow probably does not bother the
younger Smith at all. After all, J.R.Smith Sr. is a member of the Chicago
Racing Hall of Fame and may one day have a plaque honoring him in the National
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga
“Dad was something else,” said
Smith, speaking emotionally when remembering his father who died at 68 of
pancreatic cancer in January of 2004 while ranked second on Arlington’s
all-time leading trainer list. “I worked for him from 1976 to 1981 before
going out on my own, and he taught me just about everything I know.”
PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL ‘BIG EVENT’ CHAT FRIDAY EVENING
and fans of Saturday’s 11th renewal of the Prairie State Festival at Arlington
are reminded that morning line odds-maker Joe Kristufek will host a “Big Event”
chat beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. that will preview the six Festival races.
Kristufek has made Team
Block’s Shrewd Operator the 5-2 choice in the White Oak Handicap, Carson Spring
Farm’s Cruise the 5-2 favorite in the Isaac Murphy Handicap, Last Call Racing
Partnership’s Our Lady in Red 5-2 in the Purple Violet Stakes, Team Block’s
Mavericking 5-2 in the Springfield Stakes, Dundalk 5’s Dundalk Dust 7-5 in the
Lincoln Heritage Handicap and Cherrywood Racing II and Terry Biondo’s
Princeville Condo the slight 3-1 choice in the Black Tie Affair Handicap.
JOCKEY PEREZ, TRAINER BENNETT COMBINE FOR WEDNESDAY
Jockey Eddie Perez and trainer
Dale Bennett combined their talents to post a pair of victories Wednesday at Arlington.
The jockey-trainer tandem took
down winning honors in the third with Dyedra Kademoglu’s Golden Baby Nadine and
came back to the winner’s circle after the sixth with Peter Karahalios’ Quick
FESTIVAL’S ALL-TIME LEADING RIDER RAZO WINS TWO
Veteran Arlington Park jockey
Eddie Razo, the Prairie State Festival’s all-time leading jockey with nine wins
during previous renewals of the six-race series, tuned up for the 12th running
of the Festival on Saturday with two wins on Wednesday’s program.
Razo won the eighth on Mark
Meyer’s Santamonicacanyon for conditioner Jeff Lynn and came right back to the
winner’s circle after the ninth aboard Robert Zoellner’s Barraaq for trainer
Donnie K. Von Hemel.