Mike Smith won five races from just 15 starts, including the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar, to be named the JockeyTalk360.com Jockey of the Week. The title goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts. They looked at races run from August 18-24.
Smith won three graded stakes during the week and his mounts earned $1,061,872. His fans cashed mutuel tickets averaging $7.80 on his five winning mounts.
He picked up four of those wins on Sunday, including the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic Stakes on Shared Belief, and the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap on Tom’s Tribute. His other Stakes win was the Grade II Del Mar Handicap on Big John B on Saturday.
Smith had plenty of praise for Shared Belief after the 3-year-old maintained his unblemished record with his sixth win from six starts in the Pacific Classic.
“He just ran a terrific race,” said Smith after the race. “He’s a special horse. I heard someone say this might be the coming out of a super star. I think now this horse deserves that accolade. I’ll tell you what: he’s as good a young horse as I’ve sat on in a while.”
That’s no small distinction, coming from a winner of 5,000 races.
The son of a jockey, Smith began riding races in New Mexico at age 11. He took out a jockey’s license at 16, earning his apprenticeship at Canterbury Downs before moving to New York in 1989. Since then, he’s won the Kentucky Derby (Giacomo), 17 Breeders’ Cup races and the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He rode the legendary Zenyatta in 17 of her 20 starts.
Smith’s win on Big John B in the Del Mar Handicap earned a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.