Home Sports Local Sports Dexter’s Mike Smith to ride in the Derby

Dexter’s Mike Smith to ride in the Derby

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In this June 9, 2018 file photo, jockey Mike Smith reacts after guiding Justify to win the Triple Crown at the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race in Elmont, N.Y. (AP File Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The world has shifted. But the nerves are still the same when it comes to horse racing. The horse racing world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally, the Kentucky Derby is run on the first Saturday in May. It has only been two short years since Justify broke sharp, and was second off the pace, and then took over at the quarter pole to win by 2 ½ lengths with a time of 2:04.20. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith started his first trek to winning the Triple Crown on Justify at Churchill Downs.

“Any time you’re blessed to win a Triple Crown race, especially the Derby, it’s always amazing,” Smith said. “There’s no feeling like it, and there’s no words in my vocabulary that can describe it.”

Wanting to keep the event in full view of the world, the Derby moved it to another special day: Labor Day weekend, and it will run Sept. 5. This weekend has the same feeling for Smith, who rode Giacomo in 2005. Smith will ride Honor A.P., with no fans in the stands this year.

Smith will tie the great Willie Shoemaker by starting gate for most Derby rides with 26. He has compiled a 2-4-1 record in 25 Derbies. Along with winning on Giacomo in 2005, he also won on Justify in 2018.

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RDR Sports will feature Vidol Smith, the mother of Mike Smith, on Thursday. She will give background stories that are only known to the family. On Friday, Mike Smith will give time to RDR Sports about his upcoming race on Saturday.

He will talk about how COVID-19 has affected his preparation for racing and his workout routine. We will find out what gate position he will start at.

In February, Dexter named a highway after Mike Smith and honored him with a sign coming into Dexter. No matter how much his success, Mike Smith still has not forgotten his family, friends or Dexter.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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