‘Big Money Mike’ Earns Jockey Of The Week Title With Grade 1 Double

by | 08.29.2016 | 6:22pm
Arrogate, under Mike Smith, won the 2016 Travers in track record time for a mile and a quarter

Jockey Mike Smith made the most of his trip to Saratoga as he won the Grade 1 King's Bishop aboard Drefong and followed that win up with an upset in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes aboard Arrogate. That grade 1 double led to him to him being named the Jockeys' Guild Jockey of the Week award for August 22 – August 28.  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.

“Big Money Mike” as Bob Baffert refers to him, lived up to his name this past week. Smith shipped in to Saratoga from California and made the most out of his limited mounts. His first win came in the grade 1 King's Bishop  aboard the Baffert trainee Drefong. Sent off as the slight favorite, Smith moved Drefong to the front and never looked back.

The Hall of Fame rider almost made it two in a row as he finished second aboard Tamarkuz in the grade 1 Forego Stakes at odds of 20-1.

The 51 year-old's next mount was a colt named Arrogate that many didn't think could step up into Grade 1 company. Smith shot out of the gate on the 11-1 longshot and went to straight to the lead setting quick fractions of :23.23 and :46.84. The 3 year-old's next move shocked everyone when he opened up a 7 1/2 length lead at the top of the stretch when many thought he would fade, eventually winning by 13 1/2 lengths and setting a new track record.

The win marks Smith's third victory in the Travers and his fifth grade 1 victory of the year.

Smith finished the week with two wins, two seconds, and four thirds from ten mounts.

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