Mike E. Smith

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Mike Smith
Smith in 2010
Occupation Jockey
Born (1965-08-10) August 10, 1965 (age 51)
Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
Career wins 5,401[1] As of 6-10-17
Major racing wins

American Classics wins:
Kentucky Derby (2005)
Preakness Stakes (1993)
Belmont Stakes (2010, 2013)
Kentucky Oaks (2013, 2017)

Breeders' Cup wins
Breeders' Cup Mile (1992, 1993)
Breeders' Cup Sprint (1994, 2011)
Breeders' Cup Turf (1994)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (1995, 2002)
Breeders' Cup Distaff (1995, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2012)
Breeders' Cup Classic (1997, 2009, 2011, 2016)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (2008, 2015)
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (2012, 2013)
Breeders' Cup Marathon (2013)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (2013)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (2014, 2016)
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (2016)

International race wins:
Irish 2,000 Guineas (1991)
Queen's Plate (1997)
E. P. Taylor Stakes (1999)
Breeders' Stakes (2000)

Dubai World Cup (2017)
Racing awards
ESPY Award for Top U.S. Jockey (1993)
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey
(1993, 1994)
Mike Venezia Memorial Award (1994)
George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award (2000)
Big Sport of Turfdom Award (2009/2010)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (2003)
Significant horses
Awesome Again, Arrogate, Azeri, Bodemeister, Cherokee Run, Coronado's Quest, Drosselmeyer, Giacomo, Game On Dude, Holy Bull, Lure, Mizdirection, Palace Malice, Prairie Bayou, Royal Delta, Shared Belief, Skip Away, Sky Beauty, Songbird, Stardom Bound, Thunder Gulch, Tiago, Unbridled's Song, Madeo, Amazombie, Vindication, Zenyatta, Beholder

Michael Earl "Mike" Smith (born August 10, 1965) is an American jockey who has been one of the leading riders in U.S. Thoroughbred racing since the early 1990s, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003, and has won the most Breeders' Cup races of any jockey with 25 Breeders' Cup wins.[2] Smith is also second leading jockey all-time in earnings with just under $300 million.[3]

The son of a jockey, Smith began riding races in his native New Mexico at age 11, and took out a jockey's license at age 16 in 1982. He left New Mexico the following year, riding mostly in the Midwest where he earned his apprenticeship at Canterbury Downs Minnesota before moving to New York in 1989. In 2000, he established his home base in Southern California.


In 1991, he became one of the few American jockeys to win a European classic by claiming victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas aboard Fourstars Allstar (some other American jockeys, notably Steve Cauthen, had won European classics before Smith, but were based in Europe). Also that year he got his big break by leading jockey in New York from 1991 to 1993, with 330, 297 and 313 wins, respectively. The following year, he rode his first Breeders' Cup winner, Lure, in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The year after that, 1993, he truly arrived as a top jockey, setting a North American record for stakes wins in a year with 62. Among his highlights were a win in the Preakness aboard Prairie Bayou-who was later euthanized after breaking down in the Belmont Stakes while being ridden by Smith-and a successful defense of the Breeders' Cup Mile aboard Lure. That year, he won his first Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, and also won an ESPY Award as top jockey. In 1994, he broke his own record for stakes wins with 68, 20 of them Grade I races. Several of those wins came while riding that year's Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year winner, Holy Bull. He also rode two winners in that year's Breeders' Cup, and again won the Eclipse Award as leading jockey. Smith went on to ride two Breeders' Cup winners in both 1995 and 1997.

In 1994, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship".

The dangers of Smith's profession became evident in 1998, when he suffered major injuries in two separate spills. A broken shoulder in March took him out of action for two months. Then, in August, while leading the Saratoga meeting, he broke two vertebrae in his back, requiring him to wear a body cast for several months. He came back six months after the fall.

In 2000, he moved his home base from New York to Southern California. That year he won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing.

In 2002, he served as the regular rider for his second Horse of the Year, Azeri. He rode Azeri to a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, and also rode Vindication to a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

In 2005, he rode 50–1 longshot Giacomo to victory in the Kentucky Derby. The win, Smith's first in the Derby, was something of a vindication for him. He was aboard Giacomo's sire Holy Bull, the 2–1 favorite in the 1994 Derby, but could finish only 12th after Holy Bull was bumped coming out of the starting gate.

In 2008, he added two more Breeders' Cup victories first in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Stardom Bound, and with the then 4-year-old Zenyatta in the Ladies' Classic. A year later, Smith returned to the Breeders' Cup with Zenyatta, this time to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic. Smith partnered Zenyatta to 16 straight victories of a 19-for-20 career that saw her become the first horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races, and the richest female racehorse with the earnings of $7,304,580.

After capturing the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic on Royal Delta, Smith became the all-time leader for most Breeders' Cup wins, with 17.

Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003.

Smith is one of the jockeys featured in Animal Planet's 2009 reality documentary, Jockeys.

Mike Smith earned the 5,000th victory of his Hall of Fame career when he teamed with 2011 sprint champion Amazombie to capture the $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park on April 7, 2012.[4]

Year-end charts[edit]

Smith with Shared Belief in 2014
Chart (2000–present) Peak
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2000 17
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2001 39
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2002 11
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2003 18
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2004 21
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2005 25
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2006 54
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2007 30
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2008 15
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2009 11
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2010 14
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2011 14
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2012 13
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2013 7
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2014 6
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2015 11


  1. ^ Horse Racing | Horse Racing Entries | Horse Racing Results | Past Performances | Mobile | Statistics. Equibase.com. Retrieved on December 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Leading Breeders' Cup Jockey Stats". Breeders' Cup. October 21, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  3. ^ "All Time Leaders - Jockeys". Equibase. June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  4. ^ Shinar, Jack. (April 7, 2012) Smith Teams With Amazombie for Win No. 5,000. BloodHorse.com. Retrieved on 2015-12-04.

External links[edit]