After three major stakes victories over the weekend at Santa Anita, Mike Smith was voted the Jockeys’ Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for June 1st-June 7th. 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.
Showing no signs of slowing down while in the twilight years of his brilliant career, the legendary and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith applied his skills for prominent owners and trainers over the weekend at the “Great Race Place.” Smith continued his dominance while winning big money races, leading all North American riders in total stakes earnings after winning the $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2), the $400,000 RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby (G1), and the $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes (G2).
On Saturday, the journeyman was given a leg up on the Kenny McPeek trained three-year-old filly Swiss Skydriver in the prestigious Santa Anita Oaks. Breaking alertly from the inside post, Smith hustled the two-time Stakes winner to the lead. The Kentucky bred was confidently ridden while setting all the fractions, never threatened, and winning convincingly while in hand.
In the day’s highly anticipated Santa Anita Derby, Smith was back aboard Kentucky bred Honor A.P. in a rematch with the San Felipe Stakes winner, the undefeated Authentic. Breaking clean and to the inside of the favorite, Smith allowed the son of Honor Code to settle just off the pace while stalking and remaining three-wide down the backstretch. Asked to improve his position in the middle of the far turn, the long striding ridgling made a powerful and sweeping move to the outside of his rival as the field turned for home. Smith then took the lead and put Authentic away while drawing clear by four widening lengths, winning impressively for conditioner John Shirreffs. The victory gave the rider his third consecutive Santa Anita Derby win and earned Honor A.P. 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby.
In Sunday’s featured Triple Bend Stakes, the veteran rider was reunited with McKinzie, the five-year-old multiple graded stakes winner. Sitting off the pace, Smith allowed McKinzie to measure the field before taking the lead at the head of the stretch, putting his opponents away under a hand ride and winning impressively by a length and a half for trainer Bob Baffert.
Mike Smith finished the week maintaining a 44% win percentage and was in the money on 67% of his mounts. With four wins and two third place finishes, his earnings totaled $544,976.
Smith has won 17 of 83 starts this year with earnings of $1,714,616. He has won 5,573 of 33,591 lifetime career mounts with earnings exceeding $329 million.
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