Age has noth­ing on Smith

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - — Post­media wires

NEW YORK — The thor­ough­bred horse rac­ing world be­longs to “Big Money Mike” Smith.

The 52-year-old jockey who has been dom­i­nat­ing big races in re­cent years put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer Satur­day, guid­ing Jus­tify to the Triple Crown with a vic­tory in the Bel­mont Stakes.

In sweep­ing the Ken­tucky Derby, Preak­ness and Bel­mont, Smith be­comes the old­est jockey to win the Triple Crown. It’s the pin­na­cle of a ca­reer that has seen him win more than 5,400 races, in­clud­ing a record 26 in the Breed­ers’ Cup, and now seven Triple Crown races. His mounts have earned more than $310 mil­lion.

This was an­other per­fect ride. Break­ing from the less-than-de­sired No. 1 post, Smith gunned Jus­tify to the lead and never looked back.

“This horse ran a tremen­dous race, he’s so gifted,” said Smith, who looked to the sky to cel­e­brate after his ride. “He’s sent from heaven. I tell you, it’s just amaz­ing. I can’t de­scribe the emo­tions go­ing through my body right now.”

Smith had made a point of say­ing be­fore the Bel­mont that he didn’t feel like he had done that much to be in the thor­ough­bred Hall of Fame. “Yeah, I be­long now,” said Smith, who ripped car­na­tions from the gar­land of flow­ers draped on Jus­tify after the race and tossed them in the air to cel­e­brate.

MIKE SMITH

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