No matter what nickname you choose to bestow on Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, he's deserving of either one.
Although he just celebrated his 52nd birthday, Smith's riding skills haven't diminished one iota, and he's as much ‘in-demand' as any jockey half his age. Smith is currently the go-to rider for trainers such as Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer, meaning he's the regular rider of such equine stars as Arrogate, Songbird, Abel Tasman, and Mor Spirit.
How Smith has been able to remain at the top of his game is the subject of a feature by Mike Tierney in the New York Times. Tierney found that the two most important factors that have contributed to Smith's success are being very selective on the number of horses he rides and his fitness training.
Smith's perseverance and determination have him on track to break the record for average earnings per start this year. According to the Times, Smith has racked up over $15 million in earnings in just 169 mounts…and that's not counting the $6 million earned from Arrogate's victory in the Dubai World Cup.
“Nobody can keep up with Mike,” remarked fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens. “No athlete at any level can keep up with him.”