On Saturday, jockey Mike Smith became the thirteenth jockey ever, and the second since 1978, to win the Triple Crown of horseracing, but he didn’t hesitate to put the spotlight elsewhere.
“First and foremost, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessings on this wonderful day,” he said during a nationally televised interview after riding Justify to a win at the Belmont Stakes, which followed his victories in the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness Stakes. “We’re also blessed we made it back safe. This horse made a tremendous race. He’s so gifted. He’s sent from heaven.”
At 52, Smithbecame the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. His smile and enthusiasm captivated the horseracing circuit in recent weeks as Justify chased history. After Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, horseracing didn’t have a Triple Crown winner for another 37 years, until American Pharoah won it in 2015. Justify was the 13th Triple Crown winner. (The first was in 1919.)
Smith also thanked Jesus after winning the Kentucky Derby.
"I just couldn't keep it inside of me," Smithtold CBN News following the Derby victory, referencing his proclamation of Christ on television. "I truly give God all the glory and I had to say it. Without Him I wouldn't have all the success I do."
He said of his races, "I believe there's just a flow that guides me and when I follow it, amazing things happen. And that's with everyday life, too. When God's leading you, you follow it."
Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame at age 38.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo: Jockey Mike Smith celebrates atop of Justify #1 during the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, 2018 in Elmont, New York. Justify becomes the thirteenth Triple Crown winner and the first since American Pharoah in 2015.
Photo courtesy: Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Publication date: June 11, 2018