Summer 2024

Jockey Mike Smith riding for Jesus as he chases the Triple Crown

The Triple Crown.

The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. It’s what every jockey strives to achieve each year.

In 2018, Mike Smith has that chance.

On Saturday, in sloppy conditions on a foggy May day in Baltimore, Smith’s horse, Justify, won the Preakness Stakes by a half-length in the 143rd running of the event. It came after they won the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

In 19 days, Smith and Justify will look to do what only one other horse has done in the past 40 years: win horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Mike Smith’s horse racing destiny seemed to be secure from the time he was born in 1965. His father rode horses. His uncle was a horse trainer and Smith began his career riding when he was just 11 years old on bush tracks. He made his debut in 1982 at the age of 16 and never looked back. At the age of 38, Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame and his career earnings have totaled more than $311 million.

Smith is a legend in the horse racing circles and after winning the Kentucky Derby, he garnered attention of a different sort when he publicly professed his faith in Christ by thanking Jesus in a nationally televised interview on NBC.

“I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing us on this afternoon and blessing us with this amazing horse.”

The public profession was something that Smith knew he had to do on such a big platform.

“I just couldn’t keep it inside of me,” Smith told CBN News. “I truly give God all the glory and I had to say it. Without Him I wouldn’t have all the success I do.”

Prayer is also something that Smith says he makes a priority and in a sport that highlights superstitions.

“People always ask me if I’m superstitious and I say, ‘If you consider praying superstitious because all I do is pray,” Smith said.

Smith, 52, says he wants to race for as long as he can and continue to be a light to others.

“As long as I continue to stay healthy, I’m going to keep riding until God shows me what’s next. God has a plan for me, and right now he’s keeping me in the saddle,” Smith said.

The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes will take place on June 9.

Jockey Mike Smith thanks Jesus after winning the Kentucky Derby
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