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Mike Smith

Mike Smith
Induction Year: 
Aug. 10, 1965
Career Years: 
1982- present
Number of Mounts: 
31,279 through August 2013
Number of Winners: 
5,083 through August 2013
Winning Percentage: 

Tab Wrapper


    Mike Smith was born into a racing family in Roswell, N.M., on Aug. 10, 1965 and rode his first winner at Santa Fe Downs in 1982. His father rode horses and his uncle trained them. Smith began riding at the bush tracks at age 11 and he took out a license at age 16. Through August 2013, he had career earnings of more than $241 million, ranking him 10th all time.

    Among Smith’s numerous accomplishments are victories in the Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes and two wins in the Belmont. He has 17 wins in Breeders’ Cup races, including two Classics, and two wins each with Lure and Zenyatta.

    Other notable victories include the Travers Stakes in 1994 with Hall of Famer Holy Bull and the 1998 Travers with Coronado’s Quest, the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Hall of Famer Skip Away), and the 2005 Kentucky Derby aboard 50-to-1 longshot Giacomo. Other standout horses that Smith has ridden include Hall of Famer Azeri, Vindication, Unbridled’s Song, Inside Information, Paradise Creek, Devil His Due, Heavenly Prize, Sky Beauty, Versailles Treaty, Fourstars Allstar, Stardom Bound, Royal Delta and Palace Malice.

    Smith has also won the Wood Memorial Stakes (3), Manhattan Handicap, Beldame Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes (2), Coaching Club American Oaks (3), Turf Classic Invitational (2), Vosburgh Stakes, Alabama Stakes (4), Whitney Handicap, Florida Derby (3), Metropolitan Handicap, Woodward Stakes, Personal Ensign, Mother Goose Stakes (2), Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (5), Pacific Classic (3), Vanity Handicap (4), Apple Blossom Handicap (5), Hollywood Gold Cup, Del Mar Oaks, Hollywood Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby, and Santa Anita Oaks. 

    In 1993, Smith set a North American record with 62 stakes victories. Two years later, he broke his own record with 68 stakes wins, including 20 of the Grade 1 variety (the record has since been broken).


    In 1994, Smith was honored with the Mike Venezia Memorial Award. He was honored again in 2000 with the George Woolf Memorial Award and has won two Eclipse Awards (1993 and 1994). Smith was also one of the jockeys featured on Animal Planet’s popular reality documentary series “Jockeys.”

    Mike Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2003.