|By Hank Wesch — Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has 215 Grade I stakes victories in his career, one short of tying the retired Jerry Bailey for the wins recorded at the highest-level events in racing.
While he’s aware of the circumstances, Smith knows from the experience of breaking many records in many categories that envisioning and doing are two different things. So he’s resolved to take it one Grade I at a time.
“When you get to those wonderful milestones, if you get to thinking about it too much it seems to take forever to get (there) and on by,” Smith said in a recent interview in the Del Mar jockey’s room.
“Of course, it has taken a long time getting to it, but it has been so much fun getting there. I’m trying to let it come naturally and not think about it too much.
“If we are blessed to do it, it would be a big feather in my cap, a big honor. I’ve got the utmost respect for Jerry Bailey and all the wonderful riders that came before him and are coming up after him.“When you’re talking about Grade Is, the best races in the country, to be the leader in that … I think that says enough on its own.”