Mike Smith, who just rode Zenyatta to a dramatic victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), will be the next guest on bloodhorse.com’s popular Talkin’ Horses podcast.
With regular rider Smith aboard, Zenyatta ended her illustrious career undefeated in 14 starts while beating an international cast of male horses. It was an emotional and historic win for the pair as Zenyatta became the first of her sex to win the Classic and it propelled her into contention for Horse of the Year honors.
Smith, 44, a native Roswell, New Mexico, was elected into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2003. He won Eclipse Awards as leading rider in 1993 and 1994, the year in which he won 20 grade I stakes and a record 68 stakes, eclipsing the previous record of 62 stakes he had set in 2003. He was leading rider in New York in 1991, 1992, and 1993. Additional honors include the Mike Venezia Award – 1991, 1992, 1993 – and the George Woolf Award in 2000.
Smith won the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with 50-1 longshot Giacomo, who, like Zenyatta, was trained by John Sherriffs, with whom Smith has had a long working relationship since he relocated to Southern California in 2000.
Among the other top horses ridden regularly by Smith have been Azeri, Skip Away, Lure, Cherokee Run, Unbridled’s Song, Stardom Bound, Tiago, Prairie Bayou, Holy Bull, Thunder Gulch, Sky Beauty, Ajina, and Coronado’s Quest. In 1991, he became the first U.S.-based jockey to win a European Classic when Fourstars Alltar won the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I).
In addition to his riding career, Smith has become one of the stars of the Animal Planet’s reality series “Jockeys,” as the successes and travails of him and his girlfriend, jockey Chantal Sutherland, have been chronicled for the program’s fans.
Please submit your questions for Mike Smith below. The podcast will be conducted Tuesday, Nov. 17, and the deadline for questions is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.