Mike Smith rides 217th Grade 1 winner

mike smith
Jockey Mike Smith, seen on triple crown winner Justify, has claimed a US record 217 Grade One wins.

Mike Smith has ridden a record-breaking 217th Grade One winner on Omaha Beach in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.

Smith surpassed the mark set by retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey to set a new mark for United States thoroughbred racing.

“Jerry is someone that comes from my hometown,” Smith said.

“I was born in New Mexico, but raised in Texas, in El Paso, where he’s from. His father was my dentist, so he’s always meant a lot to me, so to surpass him means a whole lot.”

Smith won four stakes on Saturday’s card.

Santa Anita had pushed opening day of its winter/spring meet back two days because of concern about rain.

The track has been under fire with 37 horse deaths at Santa Anita since last December.

Omaha Beach was forced to miss this year’s Kentucky Derby because of entrapped epiglottis. The colt is set to be retired after next month’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup in Florida.

“This is really special for us, opening day at Santa Anita,” winning trainer Richard Mandella said.

“After all the trouble we have been through this year, this place is The Great Race Place and we all need to remember that.”