Mike Smith

Radical Change, Status Quo, or Middle Ground for New York Whip Rules?

New York has lagged other racing states in addressing changes to whip use designed to be more humane to Thoroughbreds. But not being an early adopter of controversial new rules can sometimes be an advantage, because regulators are able to assess what is and isn't working in other jurisdictions before making potentially radical modifications to long-standing practices. That was the tone of discussion during the Oct. 19 teleconference meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), which conducted what amounted to a 2 1/4-hour opinion-gathering dialogue on whether or...

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Riders Up Documentary Takes Look Behind Scenes at “First Sports Bubble”

As the  realities of the coronavirus started to spread across California and the country, the team at Santa Anita wasn't sure how to prepare for what could have quickly escalated into a dire situation for the track and the sport. But what began as a scramble of sorts led to a well-coordinated plan. Racing would successfully return to the historic Southern California track and with an innovative wrinkle. During the racing week, the jockeys were required to live in a bubble in campers situated on track. What might at first...

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Jockeys Pledge Support to Injured Rider Vinnie Bednar

Jockeys Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, John Velazquez, Manuel Franco and Tyler Gaffalione have pledged a percentage of their earnings from the GI Kentucky Oaks and GI Kentucky Derby race cards to help rider 28-year-old rider Vinnie Bednar, who suffered a catastrophic fall at Los Alamitos Racetrack Aug. 22. Bednar is currently experiencing lower-limb paralysis following initial surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. He remains hospitalized while awaiting transfer to the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, a world-renowned, premier center for spinal and brain injury. The accident occurred in...

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McKinzie Meets ‘Standards’ in Alysheba

As a multiple Grade I winner with 11 triple-digit Beyer figures to his name, McKinzie (Street Sense) has well established himself as a force in the older male division. But showing a pair of off-the-board finishes in three starts this season, he will be out looking for a bit of redemption when he returns to the site and race that produced his track-record setting performance last spring in Friday's GII Alysheba S. at Churchill Downs. Racking up powerful victories in the GI Pennsylvania Derby and GI Malibu S. as a...

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Mike Smith Talks Honor A. P., Derby Memories On TDN Writers’ Room

As a Hall of Fame jockey and two-time winning rider of the GI Kentucky Derby, Mike Smith knows his way around Churchill Downs. After having his morning-line favored mount Omaha Beach (War Front) scratched the week of the race last year, Smith is back aboard a major contender in Saturday's Run for the Roses. Wednesday, the 55-year-old rider who's still at the top of his game joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland. Calling in via Zoom from Louisville as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Smith talked...

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Mike Smith Joins the TDN Writers’ Room

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith joins this week's TDN Writers' Room days before his bid for the GI Kentucky Derby aboard Honor A.P.

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Honor A. P. Sharp in Del Mar Drill

C R K Stable's GI Kentucky Derby contender Honor A. P. (Honor Code) worked five furlongs prior to the first race at Del Mar Saturday, covering the distance in :59.40 (4/96) with jockey Mike Smith in the irons. The dark bay sophomore clipped off fractions of  :23.80, :36.00 and :47.40 on a fast Del Mar track with trainer John Shirreffs watching the move from the frontside. Del Mar clocker Toby Turrell, who timed the move, caught Honor A.P. going six furlongs in 1:11.40, seven-eighths in 1:23.80 and a mile in...

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Churchill May Require Derby Jockeys to be in Kentucky by Aug. 24

Churchill Downs may require all jockeys riding during the short meet surrounding the GI Kentucky Derby to be in the state of Kentucky by Aug. 24. Churchill Downs Senior Director, Communication & Media Services Darren Rogers said the rule is being considered but no official decision will be announced until later in week. Rogers added that Churchill is also expected to announce shortly a complete list of protocols that will be in place for the Derby, including how many fans will be allowed to attend the race. For jockeys who...

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Op/Ed: Churchill Must Make Tough Call and Limit Derby to Local Jockeys

With Saratoga, Del Mar and a number of other tracks effectively eliminating jockeys from coming and going due to fears they will spread the coronavirus, attention now turns to Churchill Downs and the GI Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs President Kevin Flannery and his team are no doubt mulling whether or not they will put similar restrictions in place, effectively allowing only Kentucky-based riders to compete during the five days of racing. It's not exactly an easy call, but their number one priority has to be safety. And that means following...

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Authentic Hangs on to Give Baffert Ninth Haskell

Heavily favored Authentic (Into Mischief) got surprisingly loose early and held on narrowly late in Saturday's GI TVG.com Haskell S., upping trainer Bob Baffert's record win total in the prestigious event to nine and earning an automatic spot in the starting gate for the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Off at 3-5 looking to atone for a second-place finish at 1-2 behind Honor A. P. (Honor Code) in the GI Santa Anita Derby last month, the bay broke on top and received only token pressure from Ny Traffic (Cross Traffic)...

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This Side Up: Haskell Sets Derby Compass as East Meets West

Guys. Come on. What was the one thing we were told, right from the outset? Wash your hands. Obsessively, wash your hands. Yet here's our most accomplished trainer, explaining that his assistant transferred a trace from a medicinal patch on his own back to the tongue-ties of their two most charismatic sophomores. Somebody seems to have been no more vigilant in the jocks' room at Los Alamitos, creating a fresh headache for Bob Baffert in the postponement of a barn debut, scheduled for Del Mar this weekend, for Maximum Security...

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Keeneland and Maker’s Mark Team up to Help Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

Keeneland and Maker's Mark have announced the 2020 Maker's Mark commemorative bottle, with all proceeds to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), an independent charitable organization that provides financial assistance to jockeys who have sustained debilitating on-track injuries. Each Maker's Mark bottle has been signed by the five leading active stakes-winning riders at Keeneland--Julien Leparoux, Robby Albarado, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano and Mike Smith--in addition to Maker's Mark Managing Director Rob Samuels and Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. The bottle goes on sale July 3 in limited quantities...

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