The occasion has turn out to be a beacon within the racing calendar, a touring circus that takes in a few of America’s most celebrated tracks, and a high-society occasion which encompasses the flavors, trend and tradition of the area.
“I can actually stroll from my home to the monitor in order that makes it a complete lot extra handy, however that is such a good looking place to have it — we at all times have one of the best climate right here, the monitor is wonderful, the surroundings is unbelievable. In the event you’ve by no means been to Santa Anita and also you sit within the grandstand and you’ve got these stunning mountains within the background, it is like a portray. It is unreal.”
Profitable a Breeders’ Cup race is the head, based on Smith, who grew to become solely the 13th jockey to clinch the Triple Crown when he rode Justify for Baffert in 2018.
“While you win a Breeders’ Cup, you did not simply beat one of the best in the USA, you have crushed one of the best on this planet,” he stated. “You are going to have one of the best from Europe come over, Japan, Hong Kong, all over the place.”
Smith rides the favourite Midnight Bisou in Saturday’s Longines Distaff, one other favourite Omaha Seaside within the Dust Mile, and says his mount Yoshida is “not and not using a probability” within the Traditional.
The 54-year-old wants yet another Grade 1 victory to tie Jerry Bailey for essentially the most top-level wins in US racing historical past.
“[Jerry] has at all times been a giant idol of mine, he is a giant mentor and it will imply quite a bit, not solely to catch him however hopefully I can surpass him,” stated Smith, who was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 2003. “If I get yet another I catch him after which I would like to go proper on by.”
Smith says he’s “driving higher” and “considering higher” than he did earlier in his storied profession. “Expertise simply helps that, and I’ve stayed in nice form, I am nonetheless capable of do the issues I did in my 30s,” he stated. “After I begin seeing that going backwards I will begin fascinated about when it is time to dangle it up.”
Friday’s motion options one of the best up-and-coming horses, therefore it’s dubbed “Future Stars Friday.”
5 races culminate within the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the richest race for two-year-olds in America and an indicator of promising contenders for the next yr’s Triple Crown races.
“There shall be numerous stars coming on the market’s no telling who you will see,” added Smith.
Alongside the bumper prize cash, the winner of every of the 14 races shall be draped in a conventional flower garland, comprising magnificence asters, golden asters, cremons and catteleya orchids grown completely for the Breeders’ Cup.
This yr marks 10th time the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Santa Anita — and the primary since 2016 — however the gorgeous course in Arcadia north east of Los Angeles has been the main target of controversy this yr.
Santa Anita, a celebrated and historic monitor which opened in 1934 and has been a favourite setting for the close by LA film business, closed for analysis in March after greater than 20 horses died within the span of three months.
When it reopened, there have been quite a few adjustments: Trainers needed to apply two days upfront earlier than figuring out a horse; jockeys needed to change whips with softer “cushion crops,” and restrictions on steroids, anti-inflammation medicine and race-day medicines have been instituted.
Talking on the monitor Tuesday, Baffert stated he had each confidence within the venue.
“It is deep and I feel it is protected. I am not anxious about it. When it rained, some horses struggled with it, however I feel they have a maintain of it now.”