Mike Smith Picks Up Rosario’s Former Mount, Yoshida, For Breeders’ Cup Classic

by | 10.18.2019 | 12:35pm
Yoshida wins the G1 Woodward in 2018

As expected, the all-time winningest Breeders' Cup jockey will not be without a ride in this year's Classic.

The Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman reported Friday that Mike Smith will ride Yoshida in the 1 1/4-mile race Nov. 2. The Hall of Fame jockey had been the regular rider for Classic favorite McKinzie, but trainer Bob Baffert decided to go with Joel Rosario for the Classic call.

Yoshida, trained by Bill Mott, ran third last out in the Woodward Stakes. That was the sixth consecutive non-winning effort for the 5-year-old Japanese-bred, dating back to last year's fourth in the 2018 Classic. Prior to that, he won the Woodward, the fifth win of his career.

Mott has kept Yoshida in training at Saratoga and plans to ship him to California Sunday, where he'll have his final breeze for the Classic.

McKinzie, meanwihile, remains atop the Breeders' Cup Classic rankings even after a second-place effort last time out in the Awesome Again Stakes. Only once in his 13-start career has McKinzie finished outside the exacta, and that was his 12th-place finish in last year's Classic.

Mike Smith has a record 26 victories in Breeders' Cup races, including four wins in the Classic, most recently with Arrogate in 2016 at Santa Anita. Rosario is seeking back-to-back Classic victories after claiming his first Classic last year at Churchill Downs aboard Accelerate.

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