Derby Jockey Profile: Mike Smith
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Mike Smith

Two-time Eclipse Award winner Mike Smith won the Kentucky Derby aboard Giacomo in 2005. Since then, he's had Derby fever even worse than before. The 41-year-old rider - who began riding races in New Mexico at age 11 - makes his fifteenth Derby start aboard Gayego in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Height: 5'4"

Weight: 114

Born: Aug. 10, 1965, Roswell, N. Mex.

Residence: Pasadena, Calif.

Family: Single ... Father George was a jockey.

Career wins: 4,682

Favorite sport: "Football and baseball."

Favorite food: "Steak"

Most hated chore: "Are you kidding? I'm an absolute freak. Everything has to be neat; I make my bed and all my clothes have to be folded just right."
I can’t live without: "My Bible by my bed."

The fastest I've ever driven was: "120 miles per hour in a real nice Porsche, somewhere in the Florida Keys. There was that long strip of road down there, and I'd just bought the Porsche so i just let it out. It could have done more, but 120 was fast enough for me."
Another active rider I admire is: "Alex Solis is still one of my favorites."
If I could trade careers with one pro athlete, I would be: "Michael Jordan. If you're gonna let me dream, you might as well let me dream big."

One thing I wish people knew about jockeys: "The dedication takes to be a rider. We really work at it, there’s a lot of sacrifice that goes on behind the scenes."
The best part about winning this year's Derby would be: "Winning for a second time. Now I want it more, I know what it feels like, and there's nothing else to give you that feeling - or at least, there hasn’t been for me."
 

 

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