Around the Water Trough

ESPY Best Jockey Award – Mike Smith

Shannon Habenicht

On Wednesday, July 10, top athletes around the globe gathered together to be awarded some of the most prestigious awards in sports. When it came time for the jockeys to step into the spotlight, it was American Equus Chosen Rider Mike Smith who was handed the 2019 ESPY Best Jockey Award at the event Presented by Capital One.

Mike Smith and Justify. Photo by Adam Coglianese

Mike Smith and Justify. Photo by Adam Coglianese

Kicking off the tradition of hosting the ESPY Awards annually in 1993, ESPN gives out awards to the best individual athletes, teams and sports moments in Los Angeles, California. The awards occur on one of the two days that no games from any of the four major pro sports are held and benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research in memory of Jim Valvano, a college basketball coach and analyst. 

Among one of the four nominated athletes, Smith was given the top honors this year over jockeys Florent Geroux, Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz, who was the 2018 winner. Both Irad Ortiz Jr. and Florent Geroux share the title of American Equus Chosen Rider with Smith, but the celebrated 2018 Triple Crown winner was the one to hold the ESPY Best Jockey trophy this year for the first time since 1994. 

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

"We are incredibly proud to have a legendary jockey like Mike Smith representing American Equus so well," said David Shano, Founder and CEO of American Equus. "He has continued to make history throughout his career, most recently with his Triple Crown win last year to become the 13th winner. He is a wonderful example of what being a Chosen Rider means-his passion for the sport and the horses he shares the track with is truly inspiring."

The Racing Hall of Famer has garnered incredible results with his top horses of the year, Midnight Bisou and McKinzie, accumulating earnings over $5.7 million so far. Now 53 years of age, Smith is showing no signs of slowing down following his 5,527 career wins and earnings close to $324 million. At the top of his game, he is focused on continuing to pilot some of the most talented thoroughbreds in racing to victory after victory. 

To learn more about American Equus, visit their website here.