Los Angeles Times sportswriter Bill Dwyre profiles 46-year-old jockey Mike Smith, who is just 12 victories away from becoming only the 25th rider to reach the 5,000 career wins mark:
“I started to think about 5,000 after Del Mar this year,” he says. “People started telling me to look at it, go get it, enjoy it. I'm ready to do that now.”
“The first milestone he recalls with any detail is No. 4,000, June 17, 2001, at Hollywood Park, on a horse fittingly named Lift Off.”
“When you are young, you are doing a lot of things,” he says. “Something special comes along and you treat it like another day. I remember having days when I won five, even six races, and I didn't think much about it. Now, you get a little older, you start savoring things, because you know they won't always be there.”
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