Jockey Jeff Smith Breaks Maiden at Portland

Apprentice jockey Jeff Smith won his first race Saturday aboard Carl's Favorite at Portland Meadows.

The victory came in his 17th career start. The 21-year-old had previously placed once and finished third twice.

A native of Washington state, Smith's roots in racing run three generations deep. His grandfather, Bobby Smith, was a horseman for many years and worked as a steward at Playfair. His father, Don Smith, trained for many years as well.

Jeff Smith said he has been around horses, and the track, all his life. From shining boots in the jocks room to working the gate, galloping horses, and assisting with training duties, Smith realized it was time to chase his dream.

"It's the dream of everyone who grows up in racing to ride professionally," Smith said.

"We were sitting in a good spot most of the way," he said of his trip aboard Carl's Favorite in the day's seventh race. "Then he started getting a little lazy. I thought for a minute he was giving up on me. I worked him a little bit, got him going and it was all we needed."

The accomplishment didn't register with Smith immediately, however.

"It took about ten seconds before it hit me. When we were galloping out after the race I heard cheers when I hit the 7/8ths pole. Then I realized what I had done and I started getting really excited."

He got the traditional bucket of water dumped on him by his fellow jockeys a little later.

(Chart, Equibase)