Jim and Marilyn Helzer established JEH Stallion Station in 1994 at the former site of Phillips Ranch in Frisco, Texas. In 1998, JEH moved to its present location in Pilot Point, Texas.
Andrew Gardiner is JEH Stallion Station's General Manager.
Jim & Marilyn Helzer with
jockey Corey NakataniIn 2003, JEH Stallion Station was renamed JEH Stallion Station East, and a newly created JEH Stallion Station West was established in Hondo, New Mexico, in partnership with R.D. Hubbard.
Jim and Marilyn Helzer have been racing horses since the 1960s.
“During the ’60s and ’70s, the only thing Marilyn and I had were cheap horses,” Helzer said.
Their first “good” horse came in 1980, when Jim purchased yearling Hempens Jet for $8,000 and watched him earn $270,183. “He alone allowed me to be successful in the horse business,” Jim told Blood-Horse magazine.
Next came Dash For Destiny, who earned over $160,000, and just missed qualifying for the All American Futurity. Having raced Hempens Jet and Dash For Destiny, “now I had some discretionary income,” Helzer said. “I had always wanted to reach for stakes quality; to look for the big horse, now I could pursue that.”
Because agents knew of Helzer’s “stakes quality” goal, he often received phone calls about horses in training. One call came in February 1990 about a 2-year-old who had made his first start at Ross Meadows in Ada, Okla. Helzer paid little attention.
Refrigerator wins the '90 All AmericanA few months later; however, agent Butch Wise suggested Helzer pay attention. Butch said, “There was a horse up there that was a real runner.” On Father’s Day 1990, the Helzer's took a look at a videotape of Refrigerator, then had the horse vetted by Dr. Bobby Lewis. Assured by the vet that Refrigerator’s bleeding problem and tendency to speed-cut could be corrected, Helzer purchased the gelding for $150,000—and the rest, as they say, is history!
Refrigerator winning one of three
Grade 1 Champion of Champions
during his career! Helzer supplemented Refrigerator to the All American Futurity at a cost of $50,000 and his new runner nearly lost all chance in the elimination trials after falling to his nose leaving the gate. “There was a horse in there from Louisiana named Royal Bushwhacker. When he went to his nose I thought, ‘There goes $50,000.’” But Refrigerator charged back to win by a nose.
“I knew then we had a really good horse,” Helzer said. In the $2 million final, Refrigerator took the lead out of the gate under Kip Diderickson and never looked back. His :19.39 time for 400 yards was a stakes record.
Over six seasons of racing, Refrigerator – named for the Chicago Bears player William Perry – carried the Helzer’s red, silver and white silks to earn $2,126,309, still the all-time leader among Quarter Horses. He won 10 champion titles while trained by “Sleepy” Gilbreath in New Mexico and Oklahoma and Blane Schvaneveldt in California, both of whom still train for Helzer.
Refrigerator, who died in 1999 after a head injury, is buried at JEH Stallion Station.
Leaving Memories sets the
fastest time for the 1991 All
American Futurity. In 1991, the Helzers had their second All American qualifier when a yearling they purchased the year before set the fastest qualifying time (:21.38). Leaving Memories finished his career earning more than $112,000 and began a successful stud career at JEH Stallion Station.
In the early 1990s, the Helzers began thinking about owning some Thoroughbreds. “In any business, there is always more you can do,” Helzer said. “The Thoroughbred business is more worldwide.”
In early 1993, Helzer purchased Marked Tree to stand at stud; then in September of that year, bought his first three yearlings at Keeneland. He bought half-interest in World Appeal; added Twilight Agenda; then raced and retired to stud Joe Who.
The yearlings, two with D. Wayne Lukas and one with Bob Baffert, had moderate success. But Helzer aspired for more.
“I told Wayne and Bob to always keep me informed if they thought there was a horse I would be interested in,” he said. “So Bob called me up and said Lord Jain was available in Argentina.” A Grade 1 winner in his native land, Lord Jain failed to win for Helzer, but he came close against top competition in California. He finished second in the Grade I Oak Tree Turf Championship, third in both the Grade II Del Mar Handicap and Wicker Handicap, and fourth in the Grade I Pacific Classic.
Brazilian Champion Miler
Joe WhoPumped by those performances, Helzer didn’t hesitate when the Baffert team found another Southern Hemisphere runner – Joe Who from Brazil. A champion miler in Brazil in 1997-98, Joe Who provided Helzer with his first Thoroughbred stakes victory when he won the Wicker Handicap at Del Mar. The following year he won the Grade III Firecracker Breeders’ Cup Handicap and Grade I Eddie Read Handicap.
In the fall of 1997, Helzer and bloodstock agent James Pruitt put together a package of horses with Quarter Horse owner Henry Brown. The package consisted of several top mares – but also included was an outstanding son of leading sire Chick’s Beduino, This Snow Is Royal, who finished second in the All American Futurity.
Champion This Snow Is
RoyalThis Snow Is Royal quickly rewarded his new owners by winning the Quarter Racing Journal Stakes and a daylight victory in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Million Futurity.
He was named 1997’s Champion 2-Year-Old colt and began his stud career at JEH in 1999.
Grade 1 Winner Feature
Mr JessIn 2000 another “big” horse came along when the Helzers purchased half-interest in Feature Mr Jess from Jumonville Farms. He went on to win the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity and Grade 1 Rainbow Derby and earn more than $525,000.
Helzer won the 2004 Louisiana Downs QH Derby with Hadtobenuts while setting a new track record.
Multiple Grade 1 Stakes
Winner Okey Dokey
Fantasy winning the
Ruidoso Futurity.In 2006 the Helzer's purchased half-interest in the multiple grade 1 winning two-year-old Okey Dokey Fantasy, who won 10 races, $576,521. A graduate of the 2005 Eclipse Select Yearling Sale, his grade 1 wins included the Rudidoso Futurity and Manor Downs Futurity. His only loss as a 2-year-old came in the $2,000,000 grade 1 All American Futurity after a horrific start.
Another outstanding Helzer runner was Thoroughbred Wooden Phone, owned in partnership with fellow Texan Tom Durant.
Purchased privately, Wooden Phone won the Grade II Strub Stakes in 2001, defeating reigning Horse of the Year Tiznow. He then finished second in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and third in the Grade I Oaklawn Handicap. After a layoff, Wooden Phone came back to win the Grade II San Pasqual Handicap in 2002.
Wooden Phone defeats
Horse of the Year Tiznow
in the 2001 Strub Stakes!Though having success with Thoroughbreds, Helzer plans to stick with both breeds.
Jim and Marilyn also raced Grade 1 winner Euroears
, who in 2011 won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes(G1), setting a new six furlong track record at Del Mar. He was also second in the Dubai Golden Shanee Sponsored by Gulf News(G1) and was a finalist in the Breeders Cup Sprint(G1). He began his stallion career at JEH Oklahoma in 2012.
“I’m going to stay with both because I get enjoyment from both,” he said. “I admire the two different breeds, and as long as you have quality, I don’t see where the breed matters.”
Jim and Marilyn Helzer formed a new partnership with R.D. Hubbard in the fall of 2003, to revitalize the historic Hondo Ranch between Roswell and Ruidoso, New Mexico.
In 2005 Jim & Marilyn announced the formation of Eclipse Sales Company. The company conducts an annual select quarter horse yearling sale each August in the Sales Pavilion at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Their children Jay
are involved in the venture.
Jim & Marilyn expanded their operations again in the fall of 2006 with the purchase of the old Shebester Stallion Station in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. They updated the ranch located off I-35 and began standing stallions at JEH Stallion Station-Oklahoma in 2007. Shawn Lindsey works as the Oklahoma-Division Manager.
Jim was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2005 and served as the AQHA President in 2009.
He has been an AQHA Director, Chairman of the AQHA Racing Council and AQHA Racing Committee as well as a member and past president of the Texas Quarter Horse Association and a member and past director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association.
Currently, Jim serves on the board of the Texas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association as its president and as a member of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership management committee.
Andrew Gardiner was promoted to General Manager over the three JEH Stallion Divisions in 2009.