Pedigree Analysis: Handsome Jack Flash

An "All American" gelding from a strong family.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
September 3, 2013

handsome jack flash

Handsome Jack Flash. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

The $2.6 million All American Futurity (G1) looked to be an incredibly strong race on paper, showing a field filled with tough, fast horses. On September 2, it delivered just what it promised. The top half of the field hit the wire separated by only a half-length, with Zia Futurity (RG1) winner Handsome Jack Flash a neck the best over a ferociously charging Reagal Eagle.

With the effort, Handsome Jack Flash was welcomed into the Millionaire-in-21-Seconds Club, boosting his earnings by $1.3 million to $1,482,271. Not a bad bankroll for the combined minute and a half of work during his five-race career.

Handsome Jack Flash – "Jack" to his friends – represents a trio of friends, including his breeder Debra Laney of Tularosa, New Mexico, and sisters-in-law Norma and Brenda Alvarez. Bred by Debra, he was raised on Norma’s Anthony, New Mexico, farm, and blessed with the first-timers luck of Brenda, who has owned precisely two horses (the other being Restricted Grade 1 winner Gonna Cha Cha ($225,730)).

Jack comes from two New Mexico-bred parents, and his pedigree surely requires a second look.

Jack's daddy, First Moonflash, grew up on the very same land as Jack did. The First To Flash stallion, foaled in 2005, was bred by Norma and her husband, Dosi, who try to keep the fillies out of their homebred blue hen Nagano Moon, but sell the colts. Thus it happened that First Moonflash went through the 2006 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale as the ninth-from-last horse to sell and was taken home by Pierre and Leslie Amestoy, who also raced his daddy. Eventually joined by partners Maria Gonzalez and Mike Abraham, the Amestoys watched First Moonflash set fire to racetracks around New Mexico. He only once left his home state to race, but won 14 of 25 starts and set three world records (including the current :20.274 record at 440 yards). He won 10 stakes, including three open Grade 1s, and retired with earnings of $969,828 and champion aged stallion honors in 2009.

First Moonflash is one of only 57 foals ever sired by champion First To Flash (First Down Dash-Marcy Darling by Six Fortunes), who himself in his racing career won the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and qualified to the All American Futurity (G1) to be named the champion juvenile colt of 2002. First To Flash unfortunately died at the age of 4, just after completing his first season at stud, leaving a tantalizing “what if?” for breeders. His single crop included 47 starters and 30 winners, including stakes winners Jess Ought To Flash ($166,756), This Flights For You ($175,170) and stakes runner Lite A Fire ($128,978).

First Moonflash stands at Double LL Farms at Bosque, New Mexico. From his first crop to race, he has 18 winners from 52 starters with earnings of more than $1.7 million. His sale record seems to be showing a demand as a sire as well – at the recent New Mexico-Bred sale, four of the top 10 yearlings sold, including the top 3, were his progeny.

Jack’s dam is the 10-year-old mare Shez Jess Nice. The mare, bred by Ponderosa Ranch of P C Inc. at Ventress, Louisiana, is by leading sire Mr Jess Perry and out of the First Down Dash mare A Lady Shes Not.

A Lady Shes Not is out of the Such A Rush (TB) mare Five Oclock Rush, who was a stakes-placed earner of $40,186, bred and owned by the family of AQHA Past President Robert Kieckhefer of Prescott, Arizona. Five Oclock Rush also produced A Lady Shes Not’s full siblings, Grade 1-placed Rush Fora First Down ($149,094) and All Hell Is Loose, who is the dam of Come Hell Or Hiwater, dam of champion All About Larry ($189,464) and stakes winner A Splash Of Hell ($92,476).

A Lady Shes Not earned a paltry $992 in three starts, and her daughter’s race record would be similar. Shez Jess Nice would start twice as a freshman, finishing never better than eighth, and earned $108. Laney purchased Shez Jess Nice a few months after the mare’s final start.

Shez Jess Nice is one of three broodmares that Laney has. The mare has produced four named foals. Her first, Bet On Ryan (by Dash Ta Fame) would exit the track after three unsuccessful starts. Handsome Jack Flash is the mare’s second starter. She has a weanling by Hard Hitting named Hit N Run.

“To me it’s not about the money,” Laney said of Jack’s All American Futurity victory. “It’s taking that little baby that was born at the Lazy A Ranch two years ago and watching him win a historical race (for which) he’s going to be remembered forever.”

Handsome Jack Flash has now jumped straight into the history books.