By T. D. Thornton
Jockey Mike Smith has been penalized with a three-day suspension by the Santa Anita Park stewards in the aftermath of Saturday’s disqualification of McKinzie (Street Sense) from first to second in the GII San Felipe S.
The hard-fought stretch battle between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro, who finished a head apart at the wire, included two distinct close-contact incidents, one just after the quarter pole and another in the run between the sixteenth pole and the finish. The stewards launched an inquiry into both, and also received a foul claim regarding the deep-stretch incident from Bolt d’Oro’s rider, Javier Castellano. The two Hall-of-Fame jockeys were visibly jawing at one another in the gallop-out after the wire.
“I wish they would have just suspended me and taken away the jock’s purse but left the horse up,” Smith said. “He certainly didn’t deserve to come down. I wish somehow we could figure that out. Where if you as a steward don’t think the horse was involved, why punish the horse and the owners and everyone who has put a lot of hard work into him? I mean, punish me.”