"The opportunity to start with a good horse and make him great is what motivates me."

JULY 2019 - My retirement from training started this month. My career has now turned to the front side of the race track. I'm currently working at Ellis Park, where you might see me doing absolutely anything that is needed to help the racing meet run smoothly. This web site is now a historical archive!

2 year olds of 2019, at Trackside Training Center in Louisville

  • Jere claimed Reigning Catfish for $7500, and started this gorgeous black, 17 hands gelding on his customized training, specialized care and feeding program, and the individual attention that he thrives on.

  • He ran back in 2 weeks after the claim, in an Illinois bred allowance race at Arlington, finishing 2nd.

  • He ran right back again, 3 weeks later in the same Illinois allowance at Arlington Park, this time with the big win, Summer of 2015.

  • Over the winter, "Fish" won a nice pot at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and a 2nd for $25,000 claiming at Keeneland before returning to Arlington Park for the 2016 summer meet. His Arlington debut resulted in an exceptional win on a rainy Friday the 13th, 5/13/16, on behalf of his many Chicago area friends and family. Watch his winning romp >>

With 5 horses at Arlington Park, Summer 2015, each and every horse won at least one race at the meet, and every horse won at a HIGHER level than the price we claimed each horse for.

Thank-you to Arlington Park for offering a fabulous atmosphere for everyone in Chicago-land to enjoy the beauty and thrill of thoroughbred racing.

For the 2015 Arlington racing meet, Jere achieved 25% wins, 59% in the money and a top 4 average win payoff, with less than half the number of starts as his fellow top 25 trainers.

For 2015, with never more than 8 horses in the stable, Jere's record was 56-13-10-5 >>> 23% wins, 50% in the money!

For the winter of 2015/2016 at Fair Grounds in Louisiana, Jere won 6 races with only 6 horses in the stable!

We had WILL IT THUNDER for nearly a year. Purchased privately, he not only recouped his purchase price, but he also earned his keep and won 3 times at 2 tracks, paying good prices at the betting window before he was claimed away from us.

This is the typical experience we seek for our owners. It doesn't always happen, but by working closely together with owners to choose the right horse and manage training and races, it can and does happen most of the time. This is Thunder's last win for us, with Jocy Gomez up, February 2016.

Why trust your horses to me? Every individual horse receives my individual attention, the best feed, an individualized feeding and training program, and the best handlers and riders, carefully handpicked by me. I personally supervise or check afterwards all farrier, vet and dental work on your horse.

I am known for keeping horses with physical problems racing much longer than most trainers. This is due to my nearly 40 years of experience spotting a potential problem and treating it conservatively before it becomes a big problem. My "treatment" for potential problems is usually as simple as a few days off from training, and careful planning for each and every breeze and race. Your horse's long term soundness and well being is my daily concern, and I believe this attitude wins more races for my clients. To clarify, "days off from training" does not mean standing in the stall. Freshening a horse with the occasional day or two of walking or light jogging helps maintain soundness in both mind and body.

I love owners who are very involved, and I'm always available by phone, email or most of the time in person to discuss your horse. For our out-of-town owners, we will gladly email photos and video of your horse when asked. If you like we can email race past performances when your horse is entered, or if you are new to racing we'll help you learn about information resources available on the internet. My goal is to give my clients a satisfying experience in racing.

If you're looking for a trainer with the best stats, I win consistently at 20% spanning 36 years.

If you're tired of paying way too much for little in return, please give me a call at 224-323-1139.

MY BACKGROUND: I spent a little over 5 years in Saudi Arabia, 2004-2009, where I trained for King Abdullah & Sons Stable. In this position I was part of a team that began with breeding, raising and starting young horses on the King's farm in Riyadh. Horses were then sent to the trainers at the racetrack where we generally had 100 or more horses at all times.

I am known for keeping horses with physical problems racing much longer than most trainers. So in Saudi Arabia I generally trained the horses that had a physical challenge due to conformation or previous injury. I also trained many grooms and several stable foremen in my methods, plus quite a few exercise riders and jockeys, which improved the King's overall racing program. I am proud of my work there, and I had a very rewarding experience as part of King Abdullah's team.

In 2009, I returned to the United States and raced my own horses in Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. I was pleased with the success we achieved, with 7 wins, 10 seconds and 4 thirds running a handful of horses. I understand the challenges that owners face to keep expenses under control and I am committed to complete transparency so owners are never surprised by unexpected expenses.

In 2010 I dispersed my small stable and accepted a position with a private, family owned stable in Saudi Arabia with about 30 horses in race training. I was hired to help the owners evaluate and improve their program while keeping expenses to a minimum. After completing the summer racing meet in Saudi Arabia, I returned to the U.S. and accepted another similar position with a private, family owned racing stable in Kentucky. I helped both stables and the experience prompted me to offer my skills as a management consultant to privately owned racing stables as my time allows.

In 2011, my wife and I moved to Chicago to concentrate on building a public stable again, racing at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park, wintering in Florida or Louisiana. We are committed to Chicago racing, and I'm always looking for young Illinois bred horses to develop, as well as enthusiastic owners who want to race in Illinois.

I hope this background will show my clients that I am flexible, adaptable, and willing to consider all options, while always doing what's best for each horse. These qualities are essential for long term success in the ultra competitive and ever changing business of thoroughbred racing.

Following are some highlights of my experience in Saudi Arabia and my prior career in the USA:

  • Returned imported stallion "Sattaie" (Zakocity) to racing after a long lay off for injury. The King's Stable imported Zakocity from the U.S. and he arrived with a tendon injury, so he became my project. After I rehabilitated him from that injury, he won 2 races in a row and his first try at 2000 meters (about 1 mile 1/4). Zakocity subsequently raced at his highest level, AND 100% DRUG FREE, with a 4th place in the 2008 G2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai.

  • Won the training title for most wins with imported horses in my first season in Saudi Arabia.

  • Won with 4 year old imported colt "Hadaar" (Comic Truth) at 1 mile 1/2 in his first start after a 7 month lay off.

  • Won an Equestrian Club Award and stakes quality "Cup" race at 2000 meters with Saudi bred gelding "Zerfaal", following a long layoff.

  • Broke the track record for 1650 meters and defeated imported horses twice at 1600 meters with Saudi bred gelding "Walad". Tied the record for most number of wins by a Saudi bred horse, with Walad's 15 wins.

  • 4 wins in one day, including Saudi bred filly "Moshtadah" who won a race for imported horses.

  • 24% wins at the 2007 Taif meet, with a record of 58-14-14-7 (60% runners finished 1st, 2nd, or 3rd), significant due to increased purse money, a new grandstand and track surface, resulting in full fields (of 18 runners!) in most races.

  • Trained several Saudi apprentice jockeys that may not have had a chance to become a jockey otherwise, including A. Almohimeedy, pictured winning the 2010 Riyadh Municipality Cup, and Terki Alanezi, who has also won many races.

  • Trained employees that had no experience to be excellent grooms, and employees with some racing experience to be foremen or assistant trainers.

  • Developed an efficient system for managing a large number of horses in training while ensuring that owners are fully informed about their horses.

I received my trainerís license in 1981 after working as assistant trainer for my father, trainer JR Smith, from 1976-1981. My father was a thoroughbred trainer for 50 years, he won 12 training titles, and is a member of the Chicago Racing Hall of Fame and Fair Grounds Hall of Fame. At Arlington Park he is second in all-time wins for trainers. JR and I worked together to select "Recoup the Cash" for a client to claim in 1993 for $15,000. That gelding went on to earn nearly $700,000 in 1994. My father trained two-time Illinois Horse of the Year "Chicago Six", another claim that became a graded stakes winner of the G3 National Jockey Club Handicap.

I've been around horses all my life and I learned from one of the greatest. My father instilled in me the high standards and horsemanship that helped me achieve consistent success through the years. I have well over 800 wins in the U.S., (20% wins/starts). I hold the record at Arlington Park for the most races won in a single day (4 races). I have trained many good horses in the US, most obtained at very modest prices:

  • Boundlessly won the G3 $100,000 Sheridan Stakes and G2 $300,000 Arlington Classic, 2nd in the Arlington-Washington Futurity and Ohio Derby, 5th in the Illinois Derby, earning $450,000 after I purchased him for $11,000.

  • Mount Lemon won the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Starter Handicap and 2 weeks later the G3 $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship Handicap after I claimed him for $25,000.

  • Cumberland County won a small stake race after I claimed him for $14,000.

  • A Storm Is Brewing set the track record at Churchill Downs for 1 mile 1/2 while under my care.

  • Recoup the Cash, who I helped my father select to claim for $15,000, won the G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup while under my father's care.

check out more of JR's and Jere's old win photos, many dating back to the 60's >>

comments from clients:

"Perfect combination of honesty and diplomacy."

"He helped us cut vet bills in half."

"The stable workers respect him, they became a team."

"Good horseman, very easy to work with."

"Enthusiastic, capable, dedicated."

"He knows everybody, and is happy to introduce you."

"Always available to talk about the horses."

"Two things many people don't know about Jere - he attended military school for much of his youth, and he was a walk-on quarterback at LSU until he suffered a football career ending knee injury. Although these must be distant memories, the leadership and team building skills learned so long ago are still very apparent in him today."

Henderson, after a big Calvin Borel ride, November 25, 2009.

Winner of the first race ever held at night under lights at Churchill Downs, June 19, 2009.

Imported mare Natalie Jane, Cup winner at 2000 meters in Saudi Arabia. She also won at 1600 and 1800 meters.

Jere R. Smith, Jr. and his father, trainer J.R. Smith, Sr. watched RECOUP THE CASH win the Hawthorne Gold Cup.

Boundlessly became a multiple graded stakes winner after Jere Smith Jr. bought him for $11,000.

Mount Lemon won two Stakes in a row after Jere Smith Jr. claimed him for $25,000.

A Storm Is Brewing, trained by Jere Smith Jr., still owns the Track Record at Churchill Downs for 1 mile 1/2 in 2:32.02 on June 17, 2001.

"In April 2004, I was named private trainer for HRH Crown Prince Abdullah (who then became King Abdullah) & Sons of Saudi Arabia. I'd like to thank all my former owners for their support and confidence in me over the years. Some of my last wins before I moved to Saudi Arabia came at the Turfway Park winter meet of 2003/2004." photos >>

Click here for a story from Jere about how he managed a horse to a nice win in an unusual situation >>



call:  224-323-1139