California Legislators Honor Mike Smith, Arrogate, Thoroughbred Racing With Special Resolution - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

California Legislators Honor Mike Smith, Arrogate, Thoroughbred Racing With Special Resolution

Jockey Mike Smith, surrounded by California legislators, and (inset) with the resolution honoring his Hall of Fame career

Jockey Mike Smith was honored by the California legislature earlier this week with a special resolution recognizing his Hall of Fame career, along with his leadership and sportsmanship as a professional athlete.

ACR 63, introduced by Assemblymember Adam Gray of District 21 in California's Central Valley, also recognizes the history and importance of Thoroughbred racing in the Golden State, along with California-based Arrogate, whose victories with Smith aboard in this year's Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup made him the all-time leading money-winner among American Thoroughbreds.

Following is the text of the resolution:

This measure would recognize the careers of jockey, Michael Earl Smith, and racehorse, Arrogate, and would recognize the history and importance of Thoroughbred racing in California.


WHEREAS, California has been a world leader in producing and training some of the best horses in history, dating back about 160 years, and is also home to world-class jockeys, trainers, breeders, owners, and many others who work in horse racing behind the scenes; and

WHEREAS, California horse racing today accounts for an estimated 50,000 jobs, 148,000 Thoroughbred horses, and a $2.5 billion impact on the state's economy, and reaches fans worldwide by combining athleticism, strength, grace, and speed; and

WHEREAS, Michael Earl “Mike” Smith was born on August 10, 1965, in Roswell, New Mexico and has been one of the leading riders in United States Thoroughbred horse racing since the early 1990s; and

WHEREAS, The son of a jockey, Smith began riding races in his native New Mexico at 11 years of age, took out a jockey's license at 16 years of age in 1982, and left New Mexico the following year, riding mostly in the Midwest where he earned his apprenticeship at Canterbury Downs, Minnesota before moving to New York in 1989; and

WHEREAS, In 1991, Smith became one of the few American jockeys to win a European classic by claiming victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas aboard Fourstars Allstar; and

WHEREAS, Smith was the leading jockey in New York from 1991 to 1993, inclusive, with 330, 297, and 313 wins, respectively, and in 1993, he set a North American record for stakes wins in a year with 62; and

WHEREAS, Among his highlights were a win in the Preakness aboard Prairie Bayou and a successful defense of the Breeders' Cup Mile aboard Lure; and

WHEREAS, In 1994, Smith broke his own record for stakes wins with 68, 20 of them Grade I races and several of them while riding that year's Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year winner, Holy Bull; and

WHEREAS, Smith was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for “extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship” in 1994, received the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey in 1993 and 1994, and the ESPY Award for Top United States Jockey in 1993; and

WHEREAS, Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003; and

WHEREAS, In 2000, Smith moved his home base from New York to Southern California, and was voted the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best of participants in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing; and

WHEREAS, In 2002, he served as the regular rider for Horse of the Year, Azeri, riding Azeri to a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, and today remains the all-time leader for the most Breeder's Cup wins and more than 5,350 career wins; and

WHEREAS, Smith rode the sensational Zenyatta to 16 straight victories of a 19-for-20 career that saw her become the only horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races and the richest female racehorse with earnings of $7,304,580. During her legendary career, Zenyatta won 17 graded stakes races including 13 Grade I events. She was considered by many to be possibly the greatest racehorse the world has ever seen; and

WHEREAS, Smith rode Arrogate, racing's all-time leading earner with $17,084,600, to a sensational win in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 25, 2017, and rode winners of five American Classic races including the 50-1 longshot Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby; and

WHEREAS, Smith has won a total of 25 Breeders' Cup races and five international races; and

WHEREAS, Smith has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to advancing the rights of his fellow riders. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Jockeys' Guild, the union of professional jockeys, and has been a member of the organization since he began his riding career; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature recognizes the outstanding career performances, leadership, and sportsmanship of Michael Earl Smith throughout his career victories; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature recognizes the remarkable performance by Smith and Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup, the Pegasus World Cup, and the Breeder's World Cup Classic, making Arrogate the leading all-time American racehorse; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature recognizes the history and importance of Thoroughbred horse racing in California; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

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