Jockey Mike Smith rode his 5,000th winner on Saturday aboard Amazombie in the Portrero Grande Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
“I’m really just beside myself right now. For it to happen on Amazombie is so fitting,” Smith told Santa Anita Publicity. “Who could have drawn it up any better? I’m just really happy that I finally got to 5,000. Those last two wins were tough. I’m glad that I got it over with. I was a little bit concerned at the quarter-pole today, but by the time I reached the eighth-pole I was very comfortable. This horse is a champ.”
Smith became only the 25th rider in history to reach the milestone.
“I can remember riding in El Paso with the wind blowing a hundred miles an hour and I thought ‘this is the greatest place on earth.’ I want to focus on getting good horses to ride and work hard at it. I feel great and I’m still getting good opportunities,” said the 46-year-old Roswell, New Mexico native.
As for Amazombie, last year’s Eclipse Sprint champ, he covered the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.16 in Saturday’s co-feature race on the Santa Anita Derby program.
Amazombie and Smith captured last year’s running of the Potrero Grande as well en route to a stellar season that was capped off with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs. This year the Breeders’ Cup returns to Santa Anita, Amazombie’s home track.
Smith won two stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, also scoring with Lady of Shamrock in the Providencia Stakes (G3).
Smith and Amazombie/Benoit photo