A closer look at how Mike Smith's doing at Del Mar

Profile Picture: Rowan Ward

November 18th, 2020

Mike Smith may be in the Hall of Fame but inquiring horseplayers want to know: how is he doing at Del Mar right now?

With 21 mounts during the first three weeks he has seven wins, more than anyone but Abel Cedillo, whose 13 wins have come from 58 rides. Smith's 33% win rate leads all jockeys. With 11 of his 21 mounts in the money, his 52% in-the-money rate puts him fourth. Well befitting "Money Mike," his $335,640 in purses puts him behind only Cedillo and Ricardo Gonzalez, both of whom have over twice as many starts.

What patterns emerge when we drill a little deeper?

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Authentic with Mike Smith riding wins the 2020 Haskell Stakes (Equi-Photo/Ryan Denver)

Smith's winners have not been tote-smashers, but they haven't all been chalk. His seven winners have ranged from odds of 1.10-1 to 5.7-1, with an average of 3-1. Smith has gotten a few longshots in the money: 15.80-1 chance Dylans Wild Cat ran second beaten a head in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies on November 6, and 9.70-1 shot Discretionary Day ran third in a maiden special weight on November 14.

There isn't a huge difference in his performance when splitting route versus sprint or dirt versus turf, but age reveals a trend. Watch Mike Smith in 2-year-old races. Eleven of his 21 starts this meet have come in 2-year-old races, accounting for five wins and another two money finishes. With 3-year-olds and up, his record is good but not as spectacular: two wins and two more money finishes among 10 starts.

Perhaps surprisingly, stakes races aren't far and away his best statistics. He has been solid: a win and another money finish across five stakes. But he has shined in maiden special weights (9 starts, 3 wins, 2 other money finishes) and allowance/optional claiming races (3 starts, 2 wins).

Looking at trainer patterns, Smith has ridden for 13 different barns. He has been particularly good for Richard Mandella, with three wins and another money finish in five starts. Keep that in mind November 21. Smith rides Royal Ship in the Native Diver (G3) and Peachtree Road in a maiden special weight, both for Mandella.