Breeders’ Cup: Mike Smith Can Pad Lead as Leading Jockey

Mike Smith aboard Zenyatta after winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (photo credit Breeders' Cup Limited).

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith already is the leading jockey in wins and money earned in the history of the Breeders’ Cup, and he is coming into this year’s two-day championship event with a good opportunity to pad his lead.

Smith is known as a “money rider” and has ridden some of the greats in the Breeders’ Cup including Azeri, Lure, Zenyatta, and Royal Delta.

Smith is coming into this year with plenty of live mounts including the likely betting favorite for both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Distaff.

Here is a quick look at some of his live mounts for this year’s Breeders’ Cup:

Game on Dude: The Bob Baffert trainee has come up short in his last two tries at winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), but the gelding is coming into this year’s running fresh and undefeated in 2013. The gelding makes his first start since winning the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on polytrack on Aug. 25.

A win should lock up Horse of the Year honors. The gelding was the beaten favorite last year in a disappointing seventh place finish with jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard. Smith was aboard the gelding in four of his five wins this year, electing to stay in New York and ride Royal Delta on Aug. 25. Martin Garcia rode Game On Dude in his Pacific Classic victory.

Royal Delta: The mare will be seeking her third straight win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), but is coming into this year’s running having been beaten in the Beldame Invitational (G1) by the talented three-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar.

The Bill Mott trainee seldom gets beat twice in a row so it would be no surprise to see the mare turn the tables on her younger foe.

Little Mike: The gelding was the upset winner in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at 17-1 but appeared to have lost a step or two since as he lost his first four starts this year.

Smith hopped on board for his last start and the gelding held on for a game win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 28 at 7-1.

Perhaps the gelding has not lost a step after all. He is now a major contender to repeat in the Turf.

Fascinating: This filly is still a maiden but appears headed in the right direction and will be an interesting play in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Bob Baffert trainee was sent off as the betting favorite in the Chandelier (G1) at Santa Anita on Sept. 28 and she finished game third, beaten ¾ of a length for the top spot.

Smith rode her in her previous start in a runner up finish in the Del Mar Debutante (G1). She is a half-sister to the Grade 1 winner Bodemeister.

Mizdirection: This mare is back to defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) where she beat the boys last year with Smith aboard. She won last year off a 5 1/2 month layoff.

This year she will be returning off nearly a five-month break, a fifth place finish in the Just a Game (G1) on June 8 her last outing. The loss was at a mile over yielding footing and she cuts back in distance and will get firmer ground.

Points Offthebench: This gelding has won six of his eight lifetime starts and comes into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) as one of the major players. The gelding won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) in his final tune-up for the Sprint.

Smith first rode this guy two back in his victory in the Bing Crosby (G1) over poly track at Del Mar on July 28.

 

Leading Breeders’ Cup Jockeys by Money Won

 

Name

Starters

1st

2nd

3rd

Money Won

Mike E. Smith

88

17

8

6

$23,639,260.00

Pat Day

117

12

17

11

23,033,360.00

Jerry D. Bailey

102

15

12

14

22,006,440.00

Garrett K. Gomez

83

13

12

9

20,365,600.00

John R. Velazquez

121

12

14

15

19,532,930.00

Lanfranco Dettori

77

10

4

8

18,221,172.00

Chris J. McCarron

101

9

12

7

17,669,600.00

Gary L. Stevens

99

8

15

11

13,723,910.00

Corey S. Nakatani

78

10

10

10

12,813,980.00

Ramon A. Dominguez

49

3

9

6

9,616,850.00

Edgar S. Prado

70

4

9

8

8,729,180.00

Kent J. Desormeaux

84

4

5

7

8,351,575.00

 

 

Michael Dempsey’s Breeders’ Cup Report $34.95 (Fri-Sat)

Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Friday and Saturday card from Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2.

The Breeders’ Cup offers 14 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Santa Anita Park.

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