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Jockey Jeff Smith breaks maiden


February 4, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

by Patrick Kerrison

Portland, OR, Jan. 29 - Jockey Jeff Smith broke his maiden Saturday afternoon, January 29, at Portland Meadows. His 17th career start at the Delta Park oval, he had placed once and finished third twice. Saturday, with Carl's Favorite, the 21-year-old found the winner's circle.

A native of Washington State, Smith's roots in racing run three generations deep. His grandfather Bobby Smith was a horseman for many years and worked as a steward at Playfair in Spokane, Washington. His father, Don Smith, also trained for many years.

Jeff Smith has been around horses and the track all his life. From shining boots in the jocks’ room to working the gate, galloping horses and assisting with training duties, Smith realized it was time to run down his dream.

"It's the dream of everyone who grows up in racing to ride professionally," Smith said. In his 17th trip around the Portland Meadows oval, Smith made his dream a reality.

"We were sitting in a good spot most of the way," he continued. "Then he started getting a little lazy. I thought for a minute he was giving up on me. I worked him a little bit, got him going and it was all we needed."

Smith, however, didn't immediately realize the gravity of this race.

"It took about ten seconds before it hit me. When we were galloping out after the race I heard cheers when I hit the 7/8ths pole. Then I realized what I had done and I started getting really excited."