angle-left Q-Racing Blog: Happy Horse

Q-Racing Blog: Happy Horse

Maybe it's just the tequila talking, but keep your eye on the Shue Fly.

text size

By Ty Wyant

Gary Hartstack’s Jess Tequila Talkin is a happy horse who has found his purpose in life as a racehorse.

The horse’s joy is spreading. Jess Tequila Talkin pleased his connections when he set the fastest-qualifying time to the $226,108 Shue Fly Stakes (RG3) in the trials on January 3 and ranks as one of the choices in the 400-yard finals on January 25.

The Jackie Riddle-trained Jess Tequila Talkin started alertly from the seventh post position in the nine-horse field and had a clear run to the finish line. The gelding pulled out to an overwhelming 2 3/4-length win under Tanner Thedford. The time of :19.550 led the six trials.

“He got out there by himself and had his mind on business,” Riddle said.

The top times were spread out. Second-fastest qualifier Donelli was clocked in :19.679 while third-fastest qualifier Jess Featured Girl raced to a :19.793 mark. Each of the top-three qualifiers won their trials by daylight.

Jess Tequila Talkin thrives as a racehorse. “He squeals when he goes to the track,” Riddle said. “The morning after the trial he was playing on the walker. He’s just a happy horse.”

Last July, he was fourth in the $434,200 Zia Futurity (RG1) and then Riddle decided to make an equipment change when her stable went to Zia Park last fall. She took the flipping halter off of Jess Tequila Talkin and entered him in a $35,000 conditioned allowance race over 350 yards.

The gelding started well from the outside post position and made up ground to finish third against a deep field. “The rig was off and he was perfect in the gate,” Riddle said. “He did well.”

A son of Jesse James Jr, Jess Tequila Talkin made his next start – again without the flipping halter – and took a step forward with his impressive Shue Fly trial victory.

“He’s doing very well,” Riddle said. “I think he’ll run back well (in the Shue Fly).”

MJ Farms’ homebred Donelli, a 1 1/4-length trial winner, has impressive stakes credentials. She won the $386,196 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) by three quarters of a length as the odds-on favorite after racing to the fastest-qualifying time of :19.671 for the 400 yards.

Donelli, a daughter of Big Daddy Cartel, is consistent for trainer Wes Giles. She has started six times and returned with four wins and a pair of second-place runs while earning $214,683. She has raced entirely against state-breds.

Sandra Bean’s Jess Featured Girl raced in the $50,000 Spring Fling Futurity last May and was steadied.

The TF Featured Effort daughter then won her maiden on August 25 at Albuquerque Downs and came back at Zia Park to score a win at the non-winners-of-two level. Those were her sole victories before her 1 1/4-length Shue Fly trial win for trainer Danny Urista.

The Shue Fly seems to get overlooked in our post-holiday malaise. However, it is always a noteworthy race for New Mexico-breds. Keep your eye on it.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit