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The Western Thoroughbred History: Red Jones

Red Jones was foaled in 1951. His sire, Lucky Eleven, was a race-winning grandson of leading sire and broodmare sire, High Time. His dam, Mackenty Jean was bred by Al H. Morgan. After making 37 starts and winning seven races, Mackenty Jean became a broodmare for breeder S. M. Gragg in Oklahoma. According to official records, Mackenty Jean produced one other Thoroughbred foal named Shirley Dream. Shirley Dream was not as successful on the track as her half-sibling, but she was still used as a broodmare by Lendol L. Davis and R. A. Youree. Shirley Dream’s Oklahoma-bred daughters, Ramon Dream, Lonely One and Shirley’s Kameha, produced runners and performers. Red Jones was the most accomplished starter from this small family of Thoroughbreds.


Red Jones made one official start as a three-year-old. He did not make any official starts at age four. During that time, he may have been racing at unrecognized tracks. He may have also been out with an injury or breeding mares. Regardless, as a five-year-old, Red Jones won his first official race on October 20th, 1956. It was against Quarter Horse company at Val Verde Downs in Del Rio, Texas. He earned a Speed Index of 95 and an AQHA Register of Merit in that race, which is something that Thoroughbreds can no longer achieve per AQHA rules.

Records show that Red Jones was unbeaten in seven starts at age six. The biggest win of his career came that year in the 1957 La Mesa Park Speed Stakes in Raton, New Mexico. In 1958, he traveled to Cleveland, Ohio where he set a new American track record at Cranwood Park for two furlongs in 21.20 seconds. That record, which was technically the world record for a quarter mile, stood for at least five years. Red Jones continued racing through his eight-year-old season. He retired with an official record of 27 starts, 11 wins, 2 seconds, 3 thirds, and $7,833 in earnings, the equivalent of about $80,000 today.


After he retired from racing, Red Jones stood for a fee of $500 at Walter Merrick’s 14 Ranch in Sayre, Oklahoma. He had already sired several runners though. Two of his daughters, Reddy Jones and Red’s Tosca, were actually racing at the same time and on the same tracks. He may have run against them. In the spring of 1960, just six months after Red Jones made his final start, his daughter Miss Texas Red set a new track record at Sonora Park for 330 yards in 17.500 seconds. Red Jones continued to pass tremendous speed on to his offspring.

In 1966, James and Jean Dillard took their Quarter Horse mare Miss Breeze Bar to Red Jones. She produced her first foal, Howdy Jones, the following year. At two, Howdy Jones won seven races including the Laredo Casa Blanca Futurity. He was named the 1969 AQHA Racing Champion Two-Year-Old Gelding. In 1970, Howdy Jones won the South Texas Derby, Bluegrass Championship and Los Dos Laredo Derby. He also set a new track record at Latonia for 440 yards in 22.27 seconds. He was again honored as the AQHA Racing Champion Three-Year-Old Gelding. Howdy Jones continued racing until he was six years old. He retired with a record of 61 starts, 20 wins, 11 seconds, 11 thirds, and $79,522 in earnings. Howdy Jones died in 1994 at the age of 27.

Photo of Red Jones via All Breed Database

Red Jones sired three other track record setters. Just Silver, a filly out of Silver Creek, by Silver Thistle, set a new track record at Lubbock Downs for 250 yards in 13.51 seconds. Just Silver also won the Columbus Futurity. Speedy Jones, a gelding by Red Jones and out of Miss Eply, by Clabber Bar, won the Colorado State Fair Championship and set a new track record at Ski Hi Park for 200 yards in 20.56 seconds. Salty Salon, a Thoroughbred colt by Red Jones, set a new track record at Sunland Park for 4 furlongs in 46.20 seconds.

Fiery Serpent, Haddie and Red’s Blessing were Thoroughbreds by Red Jones that followed in their sire’s footsteps by winning races against Quarter Horses. Bubbusa and Gomer Jones were among his Quarter Horse stakes winners. In total, Red Jones sired 218 foals in 23 foal crops. His offspring won 586 races and earned $864,975 on the track. Among his get were 101 race winners, 35 ROM-earners, five stakes winners, three Superior Race Award-earners, and one champion.


His Thoroughbred sons Cheater Wells, Red Donit and Weywey Tenango sired Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Paints. Major Royal, a Paint gelding by Pampered, a Quarter Horse son of Red Jones, earned APHA points in Pole Bending, Tie-Down Roping, and Reining. Blackie Jones, a stallion by Red Jones and out of Miss Epley, by Capital, sired Beth’s Best, an Arena ROM-earner.

The daughters of Red Jones were versatile. They produced racehorses and barrel horses. Eight Fifteen, a Quarter Horse mare by Red Jones and out of Laugh and Go, by Bob’s Folly, produced stakes winner Apollo Eight and stakes contender Hezanativeeight. Red Carlile, another Red Jones daughter, produced Lucky Red Moon, Triple Chick Jones, Red Dash and Oklahoma Who. Oklahoma Who, in turn produced Whos Move and Whos Fame, 1D barrel horses. Red Jones is also the dam sire of multiple stakes winner Go Red Lady. Nita Flying Jay and Yellow Sonnet, performance and halter point-earners, were out of Red Jones mares too.

Kelly Gerber and Whos Fame, aka “Molly,” winning a barrel race in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Molly is a descendant of Red Jones through her third dam, Red Carlile.

Red Jones is well-known in the cutting industry for siring Fickle Fortune. Fickle Fortune was a full sister to the aforementioned Red’s Tosca. Both mares were out of Tosca Play, by Band Play Jr. Fickle Fortune made seven starts and earned an AAA rating on the track. She produced race winners Cherokee Fortune, Double L Jones and Mitey Fickle. She was also bred to Little Joe, a stallion by Del Rio Joe, to produce Little Joe Jones. Little Joe Jones was owned and trained by NCHA Hall of Fame rider, Keith Barnett. Barnett and Little Joe Jones posted a score of 219 to claim the reserve championship at the 1968 NCHA Futurity.

Red Jones passed away in 1977 at the age of 26. Some of his notable descendants include Quite An Angel, the 1986 AQHA Youth World Champion Two-Year-Old Mare. The great mare Reddy Investment traces back to Red Jones through her second dam. Reddy Investment is the dam of All American Derby winner See Me Gone and Mile High Futurity winners Draws a Crowd and Eyes a Screamer. Although he had comparatively few foals, Red Jones is still prominent in the pedigrees of many great horses today.

Sources: Equineline, Equibase, The Quarter Horse Journal

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