Jockey Mike Smith has been chosen as the 2010 winner of the organization's Big Sport of Turfdom Award, the Turf Publicists of America announced Nov. 18.
The annual honor is bestowed upon a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.
Last year Smith was a part of "Team Zenyatta" who garnered the Big Sport of Turfdom Award. Included in the 2009 award were owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Sherriffs and his wife Dottie.
"It was an incredible honor just to be a part of a team that won the Big Sport of Turfdom Award," stated Smith upon receiving the news. "Now, to win this award on my own is overwhelming. As a matter of fact last year's trophy is one of my all-time favorites and it sits prominently on my mantle at home."
The Big Sport of Turfdom Award will be presented along with the Race Track Industry Program Awards Luncheon Dec. 7. It is part of the 2010 Symposium on Racing & Gaming presented by the University of Arizona at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Ariz. The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 150 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country. The Big Sport of Turfdom award has been presented every year since 1966.
"Mike Smith will forever be immortalized for his scintillating rides aboard the great Zenyatta throughout her career," stated John Engelhardt, president of the TPA, "but this award is for his entire body of work throughout his career. What resonates most at the present was his heart-felt press conference after this year's Breeders' Cup Classic, but win or lose, Mike has always made himself available to the press, reflecting positively on his craft and the entire sport of Thoroughbred racing. His individual recognition is well deserved."
In addition to being the regular rider of two-time champion Zenyatta, Smith completed his personal "Triple Crown" in 2010 with his Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victory aboard Drosselmeyer. He won the 1993 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on Prairie Bayou and the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Giacomo.
From a career that saw him first ride competitively at the age of 11, Smith has risen to the top of his profession, including two Eclipse Awards (1993, 1994). He was inducted into Racing's Hall of Fame in 2003.