Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith swept the pair of Grade 2 stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday and earned Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for February 6-12, 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.
Mike Smith had a mount in each of the graded stakes events on Santa Anita’s Saturday card. The first of the two events was the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (G2), a dirt route for older fillies and mares that attracted Argentinian mare Vale Dori and her three-race win streak. Smith and Vale Dori raced to an easy victory as the 1-5 favorite, defeating Tyler Baze and Show Stealer by nearly two lengths. Vale Dori has won four consecutive races and is 5 for 7 since shipping to the United States.
Vale Dori ($2.60) was a logical betting choice. Bolo, Smith’s next mount on the card, was the second highest price in the field. Before Saturday, the 5-year-old horse was last seen trailing the field in the Eddie Read Stakes (G2) in July at Del Mar.
Bolo had not won a race in a year – one year, to be exact, as his last victory came in the 2016 running of the $200,000 Arcadia Stakes (G2). He was an upset winner in that event, ridden to victory by Flavien Prat by a neck over post-time favorite Obviously and his jockey, Mike Smith.
Smith turned the tables on Prat in the 2017 edition of the Arcadia, riding Bolo ($14.60) to the finish line first while Prat finished third on the favorite, Conquest Enforcer.
With his two stakes wins, Smith was the second leading rider by stakes earnings for the week. He was the third leading rider by earnings for the week, adding $296,280 to his total. His 2017 earnings total over $8 million, giving him a comfortable lead in North American jockeys by earnings, thanks to his win in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup in January. His total career earnings are $293 million.
The two-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey won three of his seven mounts last week for a win rate of 43%. With three third-place finishes, he finished in the money in 86% of his 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.