His Hall of Fame career has taken jockey Mike Smith quite literally around the world. His next stop – and first in more than 14 ½ years – brings the affable 56-year-old to Laurel Park, in Maryland.
Based in California since 2000, Smith will be in town Saturday with three mounts on the 11 race card.
Leading off with the $100,000 dollar Twixt Stakes (6th race) for females 3 years-old and up, Big Money Mike will be aboard 4-year-old filly SO DARN HOT.
Smith will ride Grade 1 Winner ROADSTER in the Polynesian Stakes (race 9) another $100,000 purse, for 3-year-olds and up.
He is also named on 2-year-old filly TIGER TO REMEMBER, a second-time starter that is third on the Also-Eligible list in Race 7, a one-mile Maiden Special Weight scheduled for the turf course.
It will be Smith’s first time at Laurel since Winning the Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) February 17th, 2007.
A career Winner of 5,623 races and more than $336 million in purse earnings, Smith owns a 32-6-6-4 lifetime record at Laurel with $823,190 in purses earned.
Smith is no stranger to racing in Maryland, having ridden in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at historic Pimlico Race Course 19 times since 1984 with two Wins – PRAIRIE BAYOU (1993) and Triple Crown Champion JUSTIFY (2018). He has also run 2nd twice and 3rd four times, and this past May finished 9th aboard CONCERT TOUR.
“It’s always great to get to Maryland,” Smith said. “I wish I had more time. I’m actually going to land, go right to the track, ride and [head] right back out again. I always love to stay and hang out and have some dinner there if I can and get some crab-cakes. I always have a good time.”
Mike is also looking forward to his reunion with ROADSTER. The 5-year-old has had Smith up for six of his 13 starts with three Wins, two 2nds and a 3rd, with the highlight being a half-length triumph in the 2019 Santa Anita Derby (G1) that earned him a trip to the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he ran 11th.
“I’ve had a lot of back success with ROADSTER. He’s on his comeback trail, so I’m really excited about riding him,” Smith said. “We expected more out of him than what he’s shown, because the ability’s there. He’s shown it in some of his races and he’s shown it in the morning, we just haven’t been able to get him to do it on a consistent basis.
He went on to say; “I’m just happy to get back on him and see if we can get him back to where I know he’s supposed to be, and that’s one of the top older horses in the country. He’s that kind of horse,” he added. “He’s shown us that already, so it’s not like we’re looking for something we haven’t seen. It’s just a matter of if we can get him back on track.”
The Daily Racing Blog wishes Mike Smith nothing but the best for his Saturday on the east coast, and Mike…you can get crab cakes to go.