Big Money Mike Smith Discusses Haskell Win On TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Mike Smith after the Haskell on Geaux Rocket Ride | Sarah Andrew

When “Big Money” Mike Smith got the call on Geaux Rocket Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) in Saturday's GI Haskell S., it was the culmination of a lot of planning and a bit of stalking.

“I've had my eye on this colt for quite a while,” admitted Smith on this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast, presented by Keeneland.

“If you have seen him, you've seen that he's such a good-looking horse,” said Smith, who talked about watching him through his early races. “And when I got the call that I was going to get to ride him a couple of weeks out, I was just beside myself because I thought all along, he was talented, and there was just so much room to get better and improve.”

On Saturday, Geaux Rocket Ride showed all of that and more. Smith had praise for his trainer, Dick Mandella.

“Mr. Mandella is just an incredible horseman,” said Smith, who was appearing as the Green Group Guest of the Week. “You just ride with confidence when you get the opportunity to ride for him.  And I knew he had his colt ready because I've been working with him, and getting the chance to breeze him a few times. And I knew he was ready to run, but I didn't know he was that good. He surprised me.”

Smith will be 58 in August, and business has tapered off for him this year, to the point where his Haskell win was just his sixteenth of the year. He admitted some frustration with that. But he said that wins like Saturday's gave him confidence.

“I'm really enjoying getting the opportunity to ride horses like Geaux Rocket Ride,” said Smith. “I'll keep riding as long as my body tells me I can do it. And so far, it hasn't let me down. If I did anything right in my career, it was that I took up physical fitness at an early age, instead of playing golf and running around. And on my days off, I work 10 times harder than when I actually have to when it's time to ride. So I'm really, really in good shape. I'm fit. I run anywhere from five to eight miles a day, train with my personal trainer for an hour a day. And I do this on my day off all the time.”

Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders, Stonestreet Farms, West Point Thoroughbreds, the KTA-KTOB, WinStar Farm, NYRA Bets, and XBTV, hosts Randy Moss, Zoe Cadman and Bill Finley discussed the pros and cons of HIWU's provisional suspensions, reviewed the races of the past week, and previewed this week's upcoming stakes races, including the Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

To watch the Writers' Room podcast video, click here. To listen to an audio version, click here.

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