Jockey Mike Smith will get a chance to defend his 2017 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) victory as the Hall of Fame rider has picked up the mount on champion mare Forever Unbridled in this year's $10 million race at Meydan.
Smith, who guided Arrogate to a memorable victory in last year's Dubai World Cup, has been named to ride Charles Fipke homebred Forever Unbridled, who will be making her seasonal debut in the Dubai World Cup. The race also will mark the first start against males for the 6-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song, who in November under John Velazquez closed out a perfect 3-for-3 season with a score in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1).
"He's obviously a great rider and he won the race last year," Stewart said. "Last fall, he told me he would love to ride her sometime and obviously (previous rider) Johnny (Velazquez) had a prior commitment. Smith was Chuck (Fipke's) next choice and I'm glad to have him."
Velazquez, who won the 2005 Dubai World Cup aboard Roses in May, is committed to riding Audible in the Florida Derby (G1) March 31. A victory by Forever Unbridled would give sire Unbridled's Song back to back wins in the Dubai World Cup. Smith believes she's capable.
"Her last few races have really been tremendous," Smith said. "She's running the kind of races where she can definitely compete with the boys. She's a big filly, too, and pretty much as big as the boys she'll be running against, so I'm very excited about the opportunity to ride her.
"The mile-and-a-quarter (2,000 meters) is something she should really like," he added. "I'm just really blessed to get the opportunity."