Mike Smith won a remarkable five stakes races on a single card at Belmont Park and has been voted Jockey of the Week for June 5-11, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
It is a challenge to win five races on a single card, let alone five stakes, but Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith accomplished the rare feat Saturday at Belmont Park. The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival offered ten stakes races on Saturday, including the feature race, the Grade 1 $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes. Smith had a mount in eight of the 10 stakes on the card.
He began the day by winning his first four races, starting with the $150,000 Easy Goer in Race 2, in which he cruised home by nearly four lengths with West Coast ($5.70).
Smith came back to win the stakes double in Races 4 and 5. In the first half, the $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1), he returned Abel Tasman ($6.30) to the winner’s circle in her first start since her Kentucky Oaks (G1) victory.
Next on the card was the long-awaited return of Songbird, making her first appearance since her only career defeat to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Smith and Songbird ($2.70) won the $750,000 Ogden Phipps (G1) over Javier Castellano and Paid Up Subscriber, who stalked and challenged Songbird coming out of the turn.
Smith piloted American Anthem ($5.90) home in an easy win in the $500,000 Woody Stephens (G2), putting over three lengths between the Bodemeister colt and longshot runner-up Giuseppe the Great and Tyler Gaffalione.
His final stakes win of the day came in the $1,200,000 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1), when Mor Spirit ($7.10) followed up his recent win in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park with another victory against a full field from the older horse division.
Smith also finished third in the $1,200,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes (G1) with Sadler’s Joy and ran in the $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes (G1) and the $700,000 Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1). Four of his stakes wins were for Bob Baffert; one was for Jerry Hollendorfer.
Smith was the leading rider by stakes earnings with $2,022,713 earned in his 11 stakes starts last week, and was the second leading rider by total earnings. In his 13 starts last week, he won five races and finished second and third in two other races, giving him a win rate of 38%.
In 2017, Smith has earned $19,178,756 in his 128 starts and 35 victories to date. He is currently ranked first among his North American peers by earnings, and has already exceeded his own earnings from 2016: $13.3 million. His career earnings exceed $298 million in over 32,000 starts.
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 Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, 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.