Mike Smith Pledges Percent From Travers Day To Equine Research

by | 08.22.2017 | 11:52am
Songbird

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has made a pledge of 1 percent of his earnings from Travers Day this Saturday, August 26, to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

“The horses give us so much. This is my way to give back to them,” said Smith. On Saturday, he is scheduled to have four stakes mounts, including West Coast in the Travers and Songbird in the Personal Ensign.

“Mike has been an enthusiastic supporter of Grayson and we certainly appreciate this latest example of his dedication to doing what is best for the horses,” said Dell Hancock, chairman of Grayson.

“Mike Smith has been in the forefront of the jockeys who have supported equine research, and he did his first advertisement for us 20 years ago,” said Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson. “Thanks to Mike's generosity, August 26 will certainly be an even more exciting day for following the races at Saratoga.”

  • Doug Bennett

    Good chance it’s a big day for Grayson.

    I’ll make an additional donation to Grayson – albeit smaller – if Smith wins the Travers the same way he did the Easy Goer…WITH NO WHIP!

  • kuzdal

    Because we’ve had some contributions recently about “allowing” the wagering public to contribute to thoroughbred aftercare…..

    Maybe I’m waaayyyyy off base. Travers Day, purses may be about $6 million. Is that about right?

    If Mike wins every race, his owners earn about $3.6 million. Is that about right?

    His 10% equates to $360,000. That’s about right, isn’t it?

    His agent gets (what? 30% of his earnings). I’ve been away but, maybe that’s about right.

    What does Mike net? $252,000. Look right to you?

    One percent of that is $2520. Think about that. In terms of his “heart”, in terms of his largesse.

    I’m truly (not) impressed, Mike.

    • riatea

      Was hoping before clicking the story that percent was short for percentage. That is very disappointing from a hall of famer near the end of his career.

      • Lehane

        At least Mike Smith is giving something and setting an example.

    • Minneola

      Can you imagine the TV crew at the track discussing this one percentage amount? How many of their viewers will be saying “Whoopie!” One whole percent! Don’t spend it all in one place.”

      • hey Minneola, I’m actually surprised they’d found that this 1% was newsworthy enough to put into print today. Would be surprised if the TV crew at the track discusses it at all. Think it would make a huge difference though, if Mike could convince every jock in the room to also give 1% of their total earnings for the day to Grayson foundation on Travers Day. That might give Grayson a reason to be very thankful indeed!!

      • Lehane

        In Australia, Racing NSW gives 1% of the total prizemoney (purse) of each and every race that is run every day in that state, to the racehorse equine welfare fund for the aftercare of the racehorses. Averaging about 15 meetings each week across the state with an average of 8 races at each meet.

        • Minneola

          That sounds really quite reasonable and with that many races, it must add up to a large amount rather quickly. Here, in this case, the one percent is heralded as something really wonderful and newsworthy. What a contrast!

    • McGov

      Why would you put your energy into that? What if Mike gave 0% ??
      My mother used to say…..”if you haven’t got something nice to say, then …”…shut it…she didn’t say shut it, but I am. It’s 2017 ;)

      • kuzdal

        McGov-

        Had my post been little more than “Damn, Mike, you’re cheap!!”, well, that’s something not nice.

        I broke it down, line by line, because far too many of us are inclined to be impressed by an offer of a 1% contribution.In truth, it’s a pittance.

        • McGov

          I get it….but…let’s say your rich Aunt gives you aqua coloured boxer briefs for Christmas and she left the tag on from 1983 and discounted down to $3.33…….and she has millions and you don’t…..do you call her out? feel less loved?
          Or do you snicker under your breath a bit and think…..no wonder Miss Auntie-Cheapo has many friends, all of them green ;).

          • Blue Larkspur

            I would use them to wash the car and buy myself quality undergarments … next story attempting to be an analogy?

          • McGov

            I feel less guilty if I wear them once before the fire pit. ;)
            It’s a waste of energy to shame someone for giving less than you feel they should. They gave what they organically felt they wanted to give. Simple. Be grateful….it’s more than I”m giving, I know that ;)

          • Blue Larkspur

            This 1% grant, IF he wins anything is not a gift to me. He should have just pledged a base amount AND the 1% of winnings … that would have been a better jesture.

          • McGov

            And so is at least taking the tag off before regifting from your closet….a small amount of energy really. Who cares, many other presents to open at Christmas. It probably shouldn’t have made it this far really….must be slow week ;)

          • Jesse

            He might give to other things other days. Who are we to judge Mike Smith’s giving. We should tend to our own maybe. :-)

          • Blue Larkspur

            maybe he does … if he falls off again, they get nothing from him

          • Minneola

            But, he represents not just himself but of all of racing. This is a jockey that has amassed a great deal of wealth and the 1% is not representative of what he could well afford. But, to publicize it as some great gift? That is absurd.

    • duey_wag

      ” “The horses give us so much. This is my way to give back to them,” said Smith.”
      Don’t insult the horses. They give WAY more than 1%.

    • William McAlevy

      I think Agents get only 10%

  • Richard C

    Whatever that percentage ultimately turns out to be — and if others on the backstretch get publicly involved on race day — I am sure it will be mightily appreciated by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. Earlier this summer on the hardwood floor, the championship team – Overseas Elite – in the $2 million The Basketball Tournament pledged a donation to the charity the club they defeated – Team Challenge ALS – was playing for…….since all of the prize money in this annual hoops extravaganza goes to the winner. Whatever the percentage turned out to be — it certainly was appreciated by the ALS Association.

  • Annie Mae

    Love Mike but only 1%? That’s cheap.

  • Hey Mike, why don’t ya give 10% of your 10%, now that’d be giving back!!!

    • SandiNisson

      Like Victor does to City of Hope

  • Jbumi

    1% is 100% more than anyone else is donating at Saratoga on Travers Day.

    • riatea

      Not true, the kid working at Mc Donalds has pledged to match “Little Money Mike’s” donation.

      • duey_wag

        Seriously, we could start a Go Fund Me and raise more than his 1%..which, of course, is dependent on him actually winning the big purses.

        • RayPaulick

          That’s a wonderful idea. Why don’t you start a fund-raiser for this cause instead of insulting one of the sport’s all-time great riders and individuals.

          • riatea

            Sorry Ray, Mike being a great rider/guy is not a pass on this one thing, and my post you deleted was funny, have a sense of humor. At least we are talking about it, so hopefully it drums up some more donations which is good….so thanks Mike!

          • Cuffdaddy

            My post was deleted for saying Mike should just donate in silence.

          • duey_wag

            I seem to be the only one on here who got “scolded”…and I didn’t even call him cheap! I imagine my post will be the next to disappear.

          • Minneola

            I would hope not. What you stated may have represented what a lot of others have also been saying or, at least, thinking. Perhaps, the sport of racing needs to get a better understanding of its fans and not live in an isolated world thinking that they know better than those that support it.

          • Jesse

            I guess he should seeing how many seem to be so judgemental about it.

          • Minneola

            At 1%, that would have been the wise thing to do. Now, he will be ridiculed (actually already has started) for contributing so little since he could afford so much more. He’s no rookie at this sport and has made a ton of money. Fans see this and many will think that this is some sort of hoax.

          • duey_wag

            Yes, it is actually a good idea, thank you. I should feel honored that my post was selected out of all the truly insulting comments on this thread for you to comment on. I guess I could have actually been more like others who said he was “cheap” or that it was “an embarrassing amount.”

    • Blue Larkspur

      No – it is just more discussed online

  • Denise Steffanus

    How many of you people criticizing Mike have made a donation to the Grayson Foundation?

    • Minneola

      Why don’t you ask how many of us donate (and how much) to the causes and charities of our choice? Then, compare those totals (and in relation to one’s income) to the 1% that a well-off jockey makes.

      • Judy Gaddis

        Amen………….when it comes to horses, I donate WAY more than I can afford to (I am on a fixed income) as do many others I know that also make equine related donations.

        Some things are just more worth parting with the almighty $$$ (and definitely better for MY soul) than another piece of clothing, another pair of shoes or some other “whim” purchase.

        I think Mike’s intent is in the right place — it’s just the way it all “sounded” in the big scheme of things.

      • Jesse

        Who asked how much Mike Smith donated to other charities of his choice before criticizing this donation of his?

        • Minneola

          You are sooooo missing the point. This is a publicity attempt that has gone so very wrong. The foundation is hoping to get more to donate. Yet, the fans of this sport make far less than this HOF jockey who has amassed a great deal of wealth. When they hear that 1% donation, they will be thinking that this is one big joke. What? This jockey cannot afford to donate more than 1 percent? On the other hand, if that is all that he wanted to donate, why did he allow the foundation to send out a press release stating this amount? What? He couldn’t have just done this privately? There are many who do not publicize their donations and contributions but request that these are given with anonymity. So, since he didn’t opt for that approach, it does set him for being criticized. That is what he chose to do: put it on a loudspeaker.

          • duey_wag

            If it’s a publicity attempt to get more to donate, it might have been better served if he had chosen a “matching donation” up to a certain amount of what the public donates.

          • Minneola

            Very good point. That is an excellent way to reach out to others to also join him in this donation drive. However, I noticed that you saw the Washington Post story, and it does look like it isn’t 1% of the jockey’s earnings but the purse earnings, which brings up Mike’s donation by ten times. Is this a sign of today’s level of professionalism in the news reporting industry? We’ve already seen the public more skeptical about their trust in the news. This may be just another example of why: poor writing and not taking the time to question things that just “don’t look right.” At least the newspaper seems to have picked up the phone and called the foundation for more clarification.

    • St Owen Racing

      I have. It was $100 in memory of Pletcher’s sophomore that succumbed to laminitis. The Grayson Foundation is probably at the top of my list when it comes to deserving foundations. And $100 is a lot of $ for me, so donations should be relative. How about yourself?

      • Minneola

        That is precisely it. To some people, $100 is a lot of money. To others, it is what they burn for non-essentials. Bravo to you! That $100 probably represents a lot of money that might have been needed for other necessities. That, then, becomes a huge donation on your part.

    • Judy Gaddis

      How many of us have the money Mike Smith has??????

      • Jesse

        I don’t know, how much does he have?

        • Minneola

          Elsewhere, someone calculated that he has earned over $33 million in his career. Not many others, here, have had that kind of income. The poster, kuzal, above, broke it down in more recent and precise terms. Again, nice earnings.

  • kuzdal

    Ray Paulick. A challenge.

    Find 99 additional sustaining members for “Grayson”. I will be one of one hundred. I look forward to seeing your names in their Annual Report.

    Thomas Kuzdal
    New Britain, CT

  • Nick Nicholson

    1% is an embarrassing amount. Mike Smith is a great rider. (On a side note: he got Arrogate beat the other day)

  • William McAlevy

    It’s a great thing he is helping out, but 1%. That to me is a joke that anyone even waste there time writing about it. If he wins Travers he’ll get make 75,000 for 2 minute race, so 1% is $750.00 dollars.

    • Minneola

      I hope that the racing industry learns from this experience. It is so alienated from its fan base and this example is demonstrative of that. Yes, to those earning low to upper-middle incomes, which represents a huge portion of our population, they see the hypocrisy of this sport. For anyone earning the kind of income that this jockey has been collecting, that 1% is just peanuts to him. But, then, to publicize it, also shows how others in the racing industry are also just as blind to the fans that support racing. And, many of those fans have already jumped ship.

      • William McAlevy

        I agree with you 100%. The tracks continue to increase take outs and continually finding people that cheat, buzzers and trainers like Asmussen having guys like Scott Blasi working for him. He talks about these horses like there nothing, rats. The only race that matters to the public is Derby.

  • Matthew Fitch

    I believe he is donating 1% of purses earned by his horses, NOT 1% of his cut. For example, if he were to win the Travers, the winner’s share is about $750,000. He gets 10%, or $75k. I think is pledge is $7,500. Basically he’s giving 10% of his share, not one percent. At least that is how the Washington Post explained it.

    • Minneola

      Perhaps, it is time for these racing sites to read the Washington Post article and see if they misinterpreted the press release that was provided to them. It might help solve this unfortunate episode and set things right.

    • duey_wag

      Even the Post article is confusing, stating he is “pledging to donate 1 percent of his purse earnings from Travers Day.” It specifically says “his” purse earnings. Guess we’ll find out when he presents a check to Grayson…if it’s actually reported anywhere.

      • Minneola

        I keep rereading that article and can see your point. It still needs more clarification. How hard would it have been if these stories would have just added one more sentence and given us some little example such as: “So, if his horse wins a purse worth $xxxx, one percent of that, $xxxx, will be donated to the foundation”? But, I do suspect that it is as Matthew calculated it. It is 1% of the purse earnings rather than what the jockey earned, and the “his” refers to the horses that Mike is riding. But, clarity is very important and wouldn’t one expect that those that report do so in a very clear manner? Isn’t that their job and responsibility?

    • Minneola

      By the way, Matthew, thank you for providing this information. I went, online, to that paper and it had far more information. I am just guessing, but I will bet you that its reporter thought it odd that a big name jockey was pledging only 1% of “his” earnings. The “purse” earnings, of course, is far greater.

  • cliff

    Mike has always been good to the grooms.when I worked in new York he always gave a check for the barn he’s a good guy give him a break.most jocks don’t even say thank you to the groom

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