One Smart Jess upsets in 2018 Speed Sale Futurity

It was a John McCreary-trained one-two punch in the sixth running of the $44,800 2018 Speed Sale Futurity Saturday, Sept. 15 at Indiana Grand. The stablemates started side by side and finished side by side at the wire in a time of :16.742 seconds in the 330-yard dash.

One Smart Jess and Leonardo Rodriguez gave trainer John McCreary a one-two finish in the 2018 Speed Sale Futurity. Jesslikethat and Luis Guerrero finished second for the McCreary Stable. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

One Smart Jess and Leonardo Rodriguez were a threat from the start. With a clean break they were right on point for the lead in the early stages, tracked closely by stablemate Jesslikethat and Luis Guerrero on the outside. Stoneburner and Jose Beltran stayed close from the inside but couldn’t overtake the top two in the final strides as One Smart Jess broke his maiden with the victory, just a head in front of Jesslikethat. Stoneburner was three-quarters of a length back in third.

“He’s a horse that has had talent, he just hasn’t had a chance to use it,” said McCreary. “He and the filly that finished second (Jesslikethat) are three-quarter siblings. One Smart Jess’ dam, First Smart Stride, is the dam of Lovemelikethat, the dam of Jesslikethat. This is great to have good owners like this and get to run horses like this.”

Owner Jeff Bonnell and Jane and John McCreary along with jockey Leonardo Rodriguez accept the trophy for their win in the 2018 Speed Sale Stakes. Making the presentation was Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing (far left), Dianne Bennett, executive director of the QHRAI and Kevin Greely, director of racing. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Owned by Jeff Bonnell and John Murphy’s Brushy Valley Farm of Knoxville, Tenn., One Smart Jess was a major surprise in the race, paying $38.40, $11.80 and $4.00 across the board. The two-year-old son of One Sweet Jess earned his first trip to the winner’s circle in his fifth start, pushing his career earnings tally over the $30,000 mark

“I’ve actually wanted to own a racehorse since I was 13,” said Bonnell, who made the trip up to Indiana from Knoxville with his mother, Ann Bonnell, for the race. “This is the first time I’ve owned a racehorse. I contacted Cooter Daniels and bought a horse off him to run in barrels and that was my connection to John (McCreary). My partner (John Murphy) wasn’t able to come to the race tonight, but I’m glad I got to be here.”

Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing personality, talks with John McCreary, trainer, and Jeff Bonnell, owner, following their win with One Smart Jess in the 2018 Speed Sale Futurity. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Another component of the win that came in especially for the race was jockey Rodriguez, who just started riding about a month ago. He comes from a family of successful jockeys in Louisiana and caught the eye of McCreary this past winter.

“Leonardo (Rodriguez) rode for me in Louisiana this past winter, and this is only his 11th or 12th start,” said McCreary. “When he was ready to start riding (in races), we brought him up and he’s really riding well. We are really lucky to have him.”

McCreary, a native of Tennessee, relocated to Indiana about 10 years ago. He and his wife, Jane, who is a veterinarian, own and operate a small farm near Indiana Grand. McCreary keeps a small string at Indiana Grand each season. He’s conditioned several successful horses on the Indiana circuit, including Lovemelikethat, who earned nearly $300,000 during her career. She is now among the horses in his brood mare band and is the dam of Jesslikethat, the second place finisher in the Speed Sale Stakes.

The Speed Sale Stakes was the featured event during the fourth all-Quarter Horse racing program of 2018 at Indiana Grand. The final two nights for all-Quarter Horse racing include Saturday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 27, which will include four stakes on the card with purses in excess of $425,000. Martha Claussen, nationally known on-air racing personality, will be in attendance to help promote the card and will provide $2 racing wagers and long-sleeved t-shirts to the first 100 fans. The vouchers and t-shirts are courtesy of the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI).