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Hall of Famer Smith Still Going Strong at 58

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” – Satchel Paige

Jockey Mike Smith turns 58 today, Aug. 10. You would not know it by looking at him. Certainly not by the way he still rides horses.

The grizzled veteran of the Del Mar jockey colony is anything but ‘grizzled.’ In fact, he is in as good of shape, if not better, than everyone else in the jockeys’ room. He reportedly invited some of the young jockeys to accompany him during his morning exercises and, as the story goes, most of them quit halfway through the workout.

Smith has been riding for 43 years. He moved his tack to Southern California in 2001. He has ridden several Hall of Fame horses and was himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. He has won a record number of Breeders’ Cups, a couple of Eclipse Awards, and a Triple Crown.

So it begs the question: In what sport does a 58-year-old man compete with 20- and 30-year-olds and beat the youngsters on a regular basis?

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“The only thing that feels old on me is my memories of the past,” Smith said with a smile following yet another victory Aug. 6.

Coming into the fourth week of racing at the summer meet at Del Mar, Smith is in the top 10 in the jockey standings with four wins. Last year, he finished fourth with 19 victories and that was with considerably fewer mounts than everyone else in the top 10.

“As far as the way I feel,” Smith noted, “I feel like a machine. I feel good, I’m really taking good care of myself and I’ve been working out hard. I’m still able to do everything I was doing in my thirties.”

For part of his thirties, Smith was riding back east on the New York circuit, venturing out now and then to win big races in other regions like Kentucky and Florida. They don’t call him “Big Money Mike” for nothing.

Mike Smith smiles in the winners circle aboard Geaux Rocket Ride after winning the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ
Photo: Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO

Mike Smith smiles in the winners circle aboard Geaux Rocket Ride after winning the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park

Smith has won four runnings of the Pacific Classic (G1) and if Pin Oak Stud’s Haskell Stakes (G1) winner Geaux Rocket Ride  starts in the race this year, Smith will have his eleventh shot at Del Mar’s marquee race. He has won 77 stakes races at Del Mar, 11th best all-time.

“I still feel great,” Smith says. “I’m going to keep going until I don’t.”

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.

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