By Mint Julep

Mike Smith Jockey: 2 Kentucky Derby Wins From 28 Mounts

kentucky derby winner 2018 justify

Key Takeaways

  • Mike Smith has had an amazing career in horse racing for many years, showing off his incredible riding skills and smart strategies.
  • As of September 20, 2021, Smith has won over 5,623 races throughout his career, making him one of the top jockeys in U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
  • Besides winning plenty of awards and honors, Smith’s impact on the sport goes even further by motivating riders and fans all around the world.

Racing Career Overview

Mike Smith had an incredible racing career that has made a lasting impact on the sport. Starting out in Dexter, New Mexico, he worked his way up to become a well-known name in American horse racing. With more than 5,623 wins by September 20, 2021, Smith’s consistent performances under pressure have cemented his status as one of the all-time greats.

Smith’s journey to success is filled with accomplishments that highlight his dedication to excellence. His strategic skills on the track have led him to victory at prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup events multiple times. Known for his deep understanding of horses and impeccable timing during races, Smith’s partnerships with champion horses have created unforgettable moments in horse racing history.

Beyond just winning races, Mike Smith is admired for his sportsmanship and professionalism both on and off the track. He has earned respect from fans worldwide for his respect towards fellow competitors. Whether guiding unexpected winners or leading favorites to glory on race days​—​Smith’s horsemanship goes beyond athleticism; it shows his genuine love for these magnificent animals.


Notable Achievements and Awards

Mike Smith has a ton of trophies that show how awesome he is at horse racing. He did some really cool stuff, like winning the United States Triple Crown on Justify in 2018 when he was already 52 years old – making him the oldest jockey ever to do it! He’s also won big races like the Kentucky Derby in 2005 and 2018, Preakness Stakes in 1993 and again in 2018, and Belmont Stakes in 2010, 2013, and once more in 2018. Mike Smith has definitely made a name for himself in Thoroughbred racing.

One thing that makes Mike stand out is his ability to work super well with top horses. Whether they’re underdogs or favorites, he knows how to ride them to victory on huge race days. His skills are unmatched when it comes to understanding each horse’s strengths and quirks so that they can perform their best when it counts most – which explains why he wins so many races!

But there’s more to Mike than just winning races; he’s known for being a good sport both on and off the track. Even if he wins or loses gracefully, his sportsmanship stands out as an example for young jockeys who want success while staying fair and respectful towards others.

Mike Smith didn’t get this successful without putting in hard work too! Spending endless hours perfecting his craft by studying past races, working closely with trainers on strategies, staying fit – all show how committed he is to being great at what he does. This dedication has helped him become one of the best racers around over many years.

As Mike keeps adding new achievements to his already impressive career full of victories against tough competition – it’s clear that fans worldwide see him as a role model of strength and skill in horse racing circles today. Each race brings excitement closer; few riders can match this modern-day equestrian master whose legacy will surely last alongside other legendary names from before his time.

The Pros & Cons of Legendary Jockey Tactics


  1. Unexpected victories can result from strategic race tactics.
  2. Jockeys excel at swiftly adjusting to changing race conditions.
  3. Maneuvering skillfully can help a horse save energy for a powerful finish.
  4. Spectators find races more thrilling when creative and daring tactics are used.


  1. There’s a chance of messing up and losing the race.
  2. Pushing too hard may wear out the horse quickly.
  3. Certain tactics might not suit how some horses run.
  4. Trying unique strategies could fail and lead to a bad performance.

Breeders’ Cup Dominance

Mike Smith’s career is marked by his incredible success at the Breeders’ Cup races, where he holds the record for the most wins by any jockey with an impressive total of 27 victories. He has triumphed in various categories like Juvenile Fillies, Turf Sprint, and Classic races at the Breeders’ Cup, showcasing his expertise on the track and solidifying his reputation as a top competitor in high-stakes events.

Smith’s skill in navigating intense competition is akin to a seasoned sailor steering through rough waters. His achievements speak volumes about his talent and commitment. Teaming up with legendary horses such as Zenyatta and Arrogate not only demonstrates his adaptability but also underscores his ability to form strong bonds with these amazing animals.

The Breeders’ Cup is where champions are born and legacies are established; it takes more than just talent to consistently conquer these prestigious races. Yet time after time, Smith has shown unwavering determination, making split-second decisions that can mean the difference between victory and defeat on the racetrack.

In a world where milliseconds determine success or failure, Mike Smith shines brightly as a symbol of excellence—a master whose impact resonates across generations of racing fans. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming an icon in Thoroughbred racing mirrors epic sagas filled with passion, perseverance, and an unyielding commitment to greatness that goes beyond mere wins; it embodies a legacy destined for eternal recognition within horse racing history books.

Hall of Fame Induction

Mike Smith achieved exceptional success and made significant contributions to Thoroughbred racing, leading him to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003. This prestigious honor highlights Smith’s legacy as a top jockey who has had a lasting impact on the sport through his outstanding performances and commitment to excellence.

After many thrilling victories that captured global audiences, Smith was recognized with this esteemed accolade. His impeccable timing on the track and ability to bring out the best speed from his horses distinguished him among his peers. The induction into the Hall of Fame confirmed what fans already knew – witnessing greatness every time Smith raced in those iconic silks.

Receiving this sought-after Hall of Fame recognition wasn’t just a personal triumph but also celebrated all that he represents in horse racing history. With numerous wins, including riding Triple Crown champions like Justify, this acknowledgment validated all the hard work and dedication he put into each race throughout his successful career.

Champion Jockey: Michael Earl Smith’s Remarkable Career

Full Name Occupation Born Career Wins Major Racing Wins
Michael Earl Smith Jockey August 10, 1965 (age 58) 5,623 United States Triple Crown (2018)
Kentucky Derby 2005 and 2018
Preakness Stakes (1993, 2018)
Belmont Stakes (2010, 2013, 2018)

Irish 2,000 Guineas (1991)
Dubai World Cup (2017)

International Race Wins

Mike Smith is known for his incredible talent and success in horse racing, not just in the United States but all around the world. He has won prestigious races like the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Dubai World Cup, proving himself as a top jockey on an international level. His ability to adjust to different racing conditions and styles of competition has made him stand out as a world-class athlete who excels no matter where he races.

His victories at events such as the Queen’s Plate and E.P. Taylor Stakes show how versatile he is on various racecourses worldwide. Whether it’s speeding down straight tracks or tackling tight turns on turf courses, Mike consistently delivers amazing performances that leave fans amazed.

Mike Smith’s achievements in global competitions not only highlight his exceptional skills but also establish him as one of today’s most successful jockeys. His smart race strategies and excellent horsemanship have set him apart globally, earning admiration from fans and fellow racers alike.

With every win abroad, Mike Smith proves time after time why he is considered a master of Thoroughbred racing. His victories across different countries showcase his enduring talent, unwavering commitment, and deep passion for the sport – qualities that continue to inspire young jockeys worldwide.

Legacy and Impact

Many consider Mike Smith to be one of the best jockeys in recent horse racing history. His legacy isn’t just about his incredible wins, but also about how he has influenced the sport over time. Known as “Big Money Mike,” he earned this nickname for his ability to shine under pressure and win big races. But what makes him special is that he doesn’t just impact the racetrack – he inspires new riders and fans worldwide.

His career is filled with victories at top events like the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup races. With more than 5,500 wins, including over 25 Triple Crown race victories, Smith has proven himself a true legend in Thoroughbred racing. It’s amazing to see how his exceptional skills on a saddle and unwavering determination have consistently set him apart from others.

But beyond all these numbers and awards lies a man who embodies sportsmanship, cares deeply for horses’ well-being, and always strives for excellence – values that touch anyone following horse racing. Whether leading unexpected winners to success with finesse or showing remarkable grace whether winning or losing, Mike Smith truly represents what it means to be a champion both on and off the track. His influence spans across different generations within the sport—serving as an inspiration for those pursuing their dreams amid tough competition while staying humble throughout their journey towards greatness

Uncover Intriguing Tales of Mike Smith’s Racing Journey

  1. ## Explore Fascinating Stories from Mike Smith’s Racing Journey
  2. **Myth: Lucky Number 7**
  3. People say that Mike Smith has a lucky number, which isHe won both of his Kentucky Derby races starting from post position 7 – first with Giacomo in 2005 and then Justify in
  4. **Fun Fact: Hall of Fame Induction**
  5. Back in 2003, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame welcomed Mike Smith into its prestigious ranks, honoring him as one of the top jockeys in horse racing history.
  6. **Myth: Superstitions and Rituals**
  7. Before every major race, Mike Smith reportedly performs a special ritual for good luck. Some even claim he wears specific lucky socks under his riding boots to boost his chances.
  8. **Fun Fact: Record-Breaking Performances**
  9. Having taken part in over 26,000 races and clinching more than 5,600 victories so far, Mike Smith stands out as one of the most successful jockeys ever known.
  10. **Myth: The Magic Touch**
  11. There are whispers that when horses are ridden by Mike Smith they perform exceptionally well; some believe he shares a unique bond with these magnificent animals that propels them to greater speeds on the track.

Personal Life and Background

Mike Smith’s connection to horse racing started early, thanks to his father George Smith, a former jockey. Growing up on his grandparents’ horse farm in New Mexico, he discovered his love for thoroughbred racing. Despite facing personal challenges and leaving high school to pursue a career as a professional rider, Mike’s determination and natural talent set him on the path to an impressive journey in the sport.

His hard work paid off when he won his first race at Santa Fe Downs in 1982. This victory marked the beginning of an extraordinary career filled with triumphs riding some of history’s greatest racehorses. Known for staying calm under pressure and employing strategic racing tactics, Mike quickly became a standout figure in competitive Thoroughbred racing.

Beyond the racetrack, Mike is dedicated to giving back through involvement with charities that support injured jockeys and retired racehorses. His skill and compassion have made him beloved by fans worldwide. His commitment goes beyond winning races; it extends to making positive impacts on others around him – earning respect not just as an athlete but as a caring individual.

Throughout the years, Mike has achieved numerous accomplishments such as multiple Breeders’ Cup wins and Triple Crown victories aboard legendary horses like Justify (2018). He has been honored with inductions into prestigious halls of fame including the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame – reserved for those who leave lasting impressions on the sport. Consistently delivering top performances year after year showcases his extraordinary talent – each win adding another chapter to his illustrious legacy.

Reflecting on Mike Smith’s remarkable journey from humble beginnings training on dusty tracks to competing at iconic racetracks globally reveals that he is more than just a jockey; he symbolizes resilience, sportsmanship, and unwavering passion for horse racing. His impact transcends mere statistics or records but lies in how he embodies true excellence both during races and outside them – solidifying his position among horse racing’s all-time greats.


1. How has Mike Smith’s riding style evolved throughout his career in horse racing?

In his younger days, Mike Smith rode aggressively and fearlessly. However, as he gained more experience over the years, his riding style transformed into one that is patient, strategic, and masterful. He now demonstrates a profound understanding of every horse he rides and has an unmatched skill in perfectly timing his maneuvers.

2. What makes Mike Smith stand out as a jockey in the competitive world of Thoroughbred racing?

Mike Smith stands out as a legendary jockey in the intense world of Thoroughbred racing due to his incredible talent, strong determination, and unmatched ability to bond deeply with his horse companions.

3. Can you highlight some of the key moments from Mike Smith’s two Kentucky Derby victories?

During his successful career, jockey Mike Smith won two Kentucky Derby races. The first win was in 2005 when he rode Giacomo to victory in a surprising upset. His second victory came in 2018 while riding Justify, leading the unbeaten colt to win the Triple Crown and making a permanent mark on horse racing history.

4. How has Mike Smith’s success impacted the sport of horse racing as a whole?

Mike Smith has achieved incredible success and lasting popularity in the world of horse racing, making him a true living legend. He inspires jockeys and fans from different generations with his amazing achievements and sets a high standard of excellence that will be admired for many years to come.

5. What qualities does Mike Smith possess that have contributed to his longevity and success in the sport?

Mike Smith has stayed successful in Thoroughbred racing for a long time because he always gives his best, knows the races well, keeps himself fit, and forms strong bonds with his horses.

6. In what ways has Mike Smith inspired and influenced up-and-coming jockeys in the industry?

Mike Smith inspires many young jockeys with his amazing talent, strong work ethic, and great sportsmanship in the world of Thoroughbred racing. His success sets a high standard for excellence.