With two Grade 1 victories during Santa Anita’s opening week, Mike Smith earned Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for the week ending Monday, January 1, 2018. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element’s Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
Mike Smith ended the year in style with two wins in Grade 1 events during the final days of 2017. He also led all North American jockeys by both total earnings and stakes earnings.
Smith’s victories started on opening day of the current Santa Anita meet, as he rode Unique Bella ($4.60) to a ¾-length win in the $300,000 La Brea Stakes (G1) on Tuesday for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. That same day, Smith also finished third in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) with Collected and finished fifth in the Malibu Stakes (G1) with Irish Freedom.
Smith returned on Saturday to win on half of his four mounts, including the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) with second-favorite Daddys Lil Darling ($6.00) for trainer Kenny McPeek. The American Oaks marked the first Grade 1 victory for the Scat Daddy filly, who was second in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in May; Mike Smith rode Abel Tasman to victory in that race.
The Hall of Fame jockey and two-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey ended 2017 as the fifth highest jockey by earnings in North America, with $20.54 million earned, behind Jose Ortiz with $27.31 million.
The leading rider by earnings last week, Smith earned $411,978 in stakes and $470,028 overall. In his 15 starts, he notched three wins, one second-place finish and three third-place finishes, for a 20% win rate and a 47% in the money rate. In his career, he has won 5,437 of his 32,990 starts and has earnings to date of $306,128,870.
Due to holiday racing schedules for the New Year’s Day holiday weekend, statistics used for this week’s ballot included Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1.