Smart Like Juice. • Photo by John Brasseaux.

Goodbye to Smart Like Juice

The reining world said goodbye to one of its successful sires recently when breeding stallion Smart Like Juice passed away.

A winner of nearly $60,000 in the show pen and the sire of more than $4 million in progeny earnings, the 1994 stallion was owned for more than two decades by the Vazquez family, headed by successful non-pro rider Jose Vazquez, of Markham, Illinois.

“Since the first time Jose saw Juice he knew that he was a special horse and boy he was,” his connections wrote in announcing the stallion’s death on Monday, Aug. 8, on the Smart Like Juice Facebook page. “He has helped us accomplish dreams that we didn’t even know we had. He will ALWAYS hold a special place in our hearts!”

Though he made his name in the reining industry, Smart Like Juice was bred by National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Champion Lindy Burch. His father was NCHA Triple Crown Champion Smart Little Lena and his mother, Jessies Oak, was a daughter of Doc’s Oak who competed in cutting – winning more than $72,000 in the cutting pen with Burch in the saddle.

Smart Like Juice. • Photo by John Brasseaux.

Smart Like Juice, however, competed in reining from the start, finishing seventh with trainer Ken Eppers in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open at age 3 for owners Justin and Vaughn Zimmerman.

He was then purchased by the Vazquez family’s Smart Like Juice Inc, and competed under the guidance of Vazquez, Ed Fear and Edwin Cridge before retiring in 2003 with more than $58,026 in earnings.

Vazquez supported Smart Like Juice in the breeding shed, not only sending his own mares to the stallion – but also putting the offspring in training and riding them to championship wins. As a result, stallion and owner passed many achievements in the sport of reining through the assistance of the other: Smart Like Juice is an EquiStat Elite $4 Million Sire, Vazquez is an EquiStat Elite $1 Million Rider and Smart Like Juice Inc – the name in which Vazquez owns and breeds his horses – has accumulated more than $2 million in earnings both as an owner and a breeder.

Jose Vazquez owned all three of that stallion’s top money earners, breeding two of them and buying one midway through his reining career. 

As of his death, Smart Like Juice had sired the earners of more than $4,403,477 in the EquiStat database. His leading earners as a sire are:

  • Juiced Up Doc, 00G, ($201,070, out of Jokes Startime x Joker Solano)
  • Like Shiner, 12M, ($189,399, out of Wind Her Up Shiner x Shining Spark)
  • Moonshine Juice, 07S, ($131,366, out of Wind Her Up Shiner x Shining Spark)
Smart Like Juice’s leading earner, Juiced Up Doc, won the 2007 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Open World Championship with Gabe Hutchins. • Photo by Waltenberry.

The stallion also has proven successful as a broodmare sire. Daughters of Smart Like Juice have so far foaled the winners of more than $1,316,383. His leading earners as a maternal grandsire are:

  • Phantom Face, 13S ($144,894, by Pale Face Dunnit out of Glorious Like A Star)
  • Smoke In Whizkey, 16G ($74,278, by Whizkey N Diamonds out of Suga Suga)
  • Got That Iowa Shine, 13G ($65,846, by Smart And Shiney out of SLJ This is My Juice)