Jockey Mike Smith has had a storied career. Over 5,400 career wins, has won the most Breeders’ Cup races, has earned close to $300 million in purses, is a Hall of Famer. However, he might be most known for the legendary fillies he has guided to numerous victories.
His most notable filly success stories include 2002 Horse of the Year winner Azeri, 2010 Horse of the Year winner Zenyatta, and two-time Eclipse Award winner (two-year and three-year old filly) Songbird.
At one point in his career, Smith said that he “hadn’t even given a thought that there could be another filly or mare that could approach Zenyatta’s talent level or heart.” But Songbird has proven him wrong. The duo have been together since the start of her career, which is an impressive 13-1. They most recently won the Delaware Handicap (G1) on July 15.
Smith had the following to say about Songbird prior to the Delaware Handicap:
“From the very first, I couldn’t wait to get on her,” said Smith. “She was a little leggy and was still a baby and a bit green, but you could tell right from the first she was something special. Once I started getting on her, the first thing that struck me was not only how naturally fast she was but how smart she was.
“If she did something wrong or got a bit confused or flustered from lack of experience to a certain situation, she learned from it right away and the next time she was ready and composed. Schooling her was as much her learning what to do as there was teaching her how to do it.”
The only blemish on Songbird’s record is a second-place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). She has earned over $4.5 million during the span of her career.