Mike Smith

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...

[ Read More ]
Jockeys’ Guild Issues Statement on CA Whip Rules

Jockeys' Guild co-chairmen John Velazquez and Mike Smith and CEO Terence Meyocks issued the following statement Friday in response to the California Horse Racing Board passing more restrictive whip rules Thursday: The Jockeys' Guild is extremely disappointed by the actions taken by the California Horse Racing Board with regards to the riding crop. Specifically restricting the use of the riding crop to six times in the underhanded fashion throughout the entire race, as well as restricting the type of riding crop that can be used. The industry has a long...

[ Read More ]
15 Months in the Making, More Restrictive Whip Rules Finally Pass in California

After initially being deadlocked on a Thursday vote to put off implementing anti-whipping regulations that have been repeatedly delayed since first proposed in March 2019, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) finally voted 4-2 to pass a rule that will prohibit a jockey from striking a mount more than six times during a race, and then only in an underhanded position with no more than two strikes in succession using whips that must meet new CHRB standards to soften the blows. Representatives from the Jockeys' Guild, plus California riders Mike...

[ Read More ]
Honor Code’s Honor A.P. Equal To Task in Santa Anita Derby

Honor A. P. (Honor Code) launched into action four wide into the stretch and powered home a dominating winner of Saturday's rescheduled GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. After missing some time with a foot bruise earlier this year, the handsome dark bay made his belated sophomore debut in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7, and ran a big one in defeat after making a strong middle move to chase home loose-on-lead wire-to-wire winner Authentic (Into Mischief). Off as the 2-1 second choice to that re-opposing undefeated foe, Honor A....

[ Read More ]
The “Pep” Back “In the Step” of Santa Anita

California is an island, they say. Well, for the past few years, it sure has felt as though the industry in the state has been left to circle the choppy waters surrounding this island in a leaky vessel. At times, these leaks have threatened to submerge the boat completely--like the Santa Anita welfare crisis that erupted last spring which led to a sweeping set of reforms that have improved safety but pushed some cash-strapped operators further along the financial gang-plank. At other times, stormy seas have proven galvanizing, bringing this...

[ Read More ]
Smith, Ortiz, Jr. Appeals Heard in Saudi

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia has rejected the appeals brought by jockey Mike Smith against the severity and length of suspensions handed down by stewards for a pair of infractions on the Saudi Cup program Feb. 29. The Technical Committee of the JCSA did agree to allow the local authority of the appellant to determine the dates of the suspension. Smith received two suspensions totaling 11 race days on the Saudi Cup program Feb. 29. He was handed a two-day ban for failing to weigh in following a fifth-place...

[ Read More ]
Mike Smith: Punishment Does Not Fit Crime

Back home in California after finishing second aboard Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) in the inaugural running of the $20-million Saudi Cup, jockey Mike Smith said the penalties handed down to him for excessive use of the whip were "absurd." Under rules enacted just before the running of the Saudi Cup card, riders were limited to striking a horse no more than 10 times during a race. The Saudi stewards ruled that Smith struck Midnight Bisou 14 times and also was guilty of hitting his mount with no regard for the...

[ Read More ]
Report: Smith Hit With Severe Penalties for Saudi Cup Whip Overuse

According to a report in the Racing Post, jockey Mike Smith has been given a nine-day suspension and fined more than $200,000 for excessive use of the whip aboard Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute), the runner-up in Saturday's Saudi Cup. The fine is the largest ever handed down to a jockey for a riding infraction. Under Saudi racing rules covering the Feb. 28 and Feb. 29 cards, a jockey is permitted to strike a horse no more than 10 times. The stewards ruled that Smith struck Midnight Bisou 14 times. He...

[ Read More ]
Smith Takes Saudi Jockey Challenge

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - Mike Smith, with two wins on the day, may have won the International Jockey Challenge at King Abdulaziz Racetrack Friday, but it was the women-allowed to ride in Saudi Arabia for the first time-who stole the show. New Zealand jockey Lisa Allpress became the first woman to ever ride the winner of a race in the country when she captured the first leg of the challenge aboard Matmon (KSA) (Kreem {GB}) and the event was bookended by winning women when Sibylle Vogt captured the last leg...

[ Read More ]
Ascendant Hard Not to Love Appears Hard to Beat in Santa Monica

Hard Not to Love (Hard Spun), one blemish from being undefeated in her five-race career, will look to validate a scintillating upset of the GI La Brea S. and continue her rapid ascent as a likely short price this time around in Saturday's GII Santa Monica S. at Santa Anita. Debuting with a local front-running score one day short of a year ago, the $400,000 Keeneland September buy repeated in an allowance Apr. 13 before suffering her only career defeat as a well-beaten third in the Angels Flight S. May...

[ Read More ]
Seven Line Up for Best Pal

Four of the seven runners slated to contest Saturday's GII Best Pal S. graduated at first asking, including morning-line choice Schrodinger (Justin Phllip), trained by Simon Callaghan and owned by Kaleem Shah. Heavy favorite in his Los Alamitos debut June 30, he came from just off the pace to score by 1 1/4 lengths under Flavian Prat. The French-born rider gets back aboard this time. Also likely to garner plenty of support at the windows, Fore Left (Twirling Candy) just got up for a narrow score subsequent GIII Bashford Manor...

[ Read More ]