Justify and Mike Smith just won the Kentucky Derby! Here’s everything you need to know about this jockey!
Wow! What a race! The Kentucky Derby has drawn to a close and Justify won the prize! The beautiful thoroughbred’s jockey for the race was Mike Smith. In light of this exciting win, let’s get to know him a little bit better. Here’s 5 thing on Mr. Smith!
1) Mike is a veteran in his field. This guy has been riding champion horses for decades. Over that time, he’s proven himself to be a heavy hitter in his field. That includes winning 26 breeders’ cups. That’s more than any other jockey!
2) He has overcome major injuries in his career. In 1998, Mike suffered 2 separate falls which threatened to end his time as a jockey. First, he broke a shoulder, putting him out of commission for 2 months. Then, 5 months later, he fell again. This time he broke his back. Needless to say, it took a solid 6 months before he was able to do his job again.
3) Mike was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003. As the son of a jockey, he had horse-racing in his blood. By 11 he was riding and by 16 he began his career as a jockey. And the rest, as they say, is history.
4) This jockey is the second-highest earner in his profession. It pays pretty well to be a world-class jockey. How much? He’s worth $306 million — and that’s before his win at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The only jockey who has him beat is John Velazquez, who has taken home $383 million, according to Heavy.
5) He clearly loves what he does. “I’m having more fun riding right now than I’ve probably ever had,” he told Blood Horse in 2014. “I’m just so blessed to be riding some great horses for some great people, and I’m really enjoying it.”