Home Sports Local Sports Smith’s Triple Crown bid is off to shaky start this year

Smith’s Triple Crown bid is off to shaky start this year

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Pictured are former Gov. Susana Martinez, left, and Mike Smith last year in Ruidoso. (J.T. Keith File Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Last year for Dexter native Mike Smith, everything went right for him. The first of the jewels: The Kentucky Derby has hit a snag for Mike Smith, who had his pick between derby favorites, Omaha Beach and Roadster. Smith picked Omaha Beach.

On Wednesday night, co-favorite Omaha Beach, picked by Smith to ride in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby was scratched because of a breathing problem. Trainer Richard Mandella told the Associated Press that Omaha Beach developed a cough and a subsequent veterinary exam showed the colt has an entrapped epiglottis.

Smith, who rode Justify to the Triple Crown last year, told RDR sports Thursday morning there is a possibility that he could still ride in the Derby Saturday. Smith hinted that if he does ride, it would not be one of the prohibited favorites. Smith did not want to give details until it was official.

On Thursday evening, it became official that Smith would ride Cutting Humor and replace Corey Lanerie in the 145th Kentucky Derby, according to Jack Wolfe managing partners of Starlight Racing. Cutting Humor qualified for the Kentucky Derby by winning the Sunland Derby in New Mexico. Cutting Humor is trained by Todd Pletcher and is a 30-1 shot to win the race. Smith has three mounts on Friday’s card at Churchill Downs and five on Saturday.

“Those are life-changing experiences,” Smith said on Thursday on winning last year’s Kentucky Derby. “Those are things that I can’t put into words, to be honest with you, those are things that you will always have in life. If it ended today, I could walk away as a happy man and not have one single regret. Not one single regret, because I was blessed enough to have won the Triple Crown.”

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Smith thinks that winning the Crown rejuvenated his career, but he was doing well without winning the Crown. Smith feels like there is no other feeling in the world like being blessed to win the Crown.

Smith reminisced a little bit about riding Mine That Bird, and felt that it was an unlucky trip and they had a good trip, but not the best of trips. He feels with a little more luck, he would have caught and beat Rachel Alexandra.

“She (Rachel Alexandra) was getting away from me,” Smith said. “I had to wait to get out, I was having to wait for room to get out, that’s just the way it was.”

Smith would love to get another Triple Crown before his career is over with. He felt the love when New Mexico had Mike Smith Day last year to honor him.

“Anytime you can do something,” Smith stated, “where your whole state gets involved, that’s special stuff.”

The Kentucky Derby will run today at 4:30 p.m. MDT.