Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith celebrates his Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) win aboard Royal Delta. Smith, the all-time winningest rider in Breeders' Cup history, took home the event's Bill Shoemaker Award. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
By Blood-Horse Staff
Powered by victories on Royal Delta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) and Mizdirection in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith has won the Bill Shoemaker Award as the outstanding jockey of the 29th Breeders' Cup World Championships, held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, at Santa Anita Park.
This is the first Shoemaker Award for Smith, who became the all-time winner in Breeders' Cup victories by a jockey on Friday, when he notched his 16th win, breaking the tie for most victories he held with retired Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Smith increased his win total to 17 when he guided home 7-1 Mizdirection on Saturday.
The 47-year-old Smith, from Roswell, N.M., also picked up a second-place finish on Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and a third-place finish on Atigun in Friday's Marathon (gr. II). Smith's 28 total points bested Garrett Gomez, a four-time Shoemaker Award winner, by two points in a 10-5-3-1 scoring system based on first through fourth-place finishes.
"I've been trying to win this award since it was first started," said Smith of the trophy started in 2003 and named in honor of the late Hall of Fame jockey. "I thought I had a shot at it last year when I won on Drosselmeyer in the Classic but Johnny (Velazquez) just beat me out. I know it's an award that Garrett, Johnny, and a lot of us really want to win.
"Bill Shoemaker was to our sport what Babe Ruth was to baseball."
Gomez made the competition extremely close with his win on Beholder in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), two second-place finishes (Grassy in the Marathon and Marketing Mix in the Filly & Mare Turf, gr. IT) and two third-place finishes (Switch in the Filly & Mare Sprint, gr. I, and Reneesgotzip in the Turf Sprint, gr. IT).
Bill Shoemaker Award winners:
2003: Alex Solis
2004: John Velazquez
2005: Garrett Gomez
2006: Frankie Dettori
2007: Garrett Gomez
2008: Garrett Gomez
2009: Julien Leparoux
2010: Garrett Gomez
2011: John Velazquez
2012: Mike Smith