Central Kentucky farrier James E. “JJ” Jones died March 17 of an apparent heart attack. The 56-year-old Central Kentucky native collapsed while shoeing a horse at Sparks View Farm near Lexington.
Jones, a breeder as well as a blacksmith, met George W. Bush when the former president was in Lexington visiting B. Wayne Hughes at his Spendthrift Farm. Jones was the regular blacksmith at Spendthrift, and he and his wife, Linda, owned a farm next to Spendthrift.
“Mr. Hughes liked JJ and thought a lot of him, as everybody did,” said farm manager Ned Toffey. “When Mr. Hughes mentioned JJ to the president, Mr. Bush said ‘I’d love to meet him.’ We called him up, and he came over.”
Jones, who was a blacksmith for 38 years, was the breeder of the graded stakes-winning half-brothers Whywhywhy and Spellbinder. The former was one of the best 2-year-olds of 2002, winning the Futurity (gr. I), Sanford (gr. II), and Flash (gr. III) Stakes. As a stallion, he sired Breeders’ Cup winner Nownownow. Spellbinder, who was based in California, won the 2006 San Antonio (gr. II) and Berkeley (gr. III) Handicaps.
In addition to Linda, Jones’ survivors include two sons and a daughter.
Visitation will be held Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. at Jimtown Baptist Church. Services will be held at the church at 1 p.m.