Jockey Mike Smith, who turned 52 on August 10, will be honored with the 2017 Laffit Pincay Jr. Award for meritorious service to racing in a ceremony at Del Mar on Aug. 20. Photo is with members of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Tours at our lunch on Wednesday of Derby week.
Pincay will present the award to Smith. A fundraiser honoring Smith on behalf of the Winners Foundation will be held at Del Mar on Aug. 19.
Through August 6th, Smith was the third-leading rider in the nation in mount earnings with more than $14.9 million. This year, the 2016 champions Arrogate and Songbird have been two of his leading mounts.
Arrogate won the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in January and the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March before finishing a dull fourth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 22.
Songbird is unbeaten in two Grade 1 races this year: the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park in June and the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park last month. Smith was aboard Arrogate and Songbird for those races.
Mike was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003, and has won the most Breeders’ Cup races of any jockey with 25 Breeders’ Cup wins. Smith is also second leading jockey all-time in earnings with over $300 million.
The son of a jockey, Smith began riding races in his native New Mexico at age 11, and took out a jockey’s license at age 16 in 1982. He left New Mexico the following year, riding mostly in the Midwest where he earned his apprenticeship at Canterbury Downs Minnesota before moving to New York in 1989. In 2000, he established his home base in Southern California.
The Winners Foundation aids people involved in racing with substance-abuse issues. Tickets to the Aug. 19 fundraiser are $100 and can be obtained by calling (626) 574-6498.