Luck’s Got Nothing to Do With It: A Chat with Mike Smith as He Closes in on Triple Crown History

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hen you’ve been racing Thoroughbreds for 41 years like Mike Smith, you pick up some practices and mantras that stay with you. They don’t protect you from the disappointing losses and aching injuries - of which Mike has had plenty - but they do remind you that when things go right, you’ve earned it.

“I hate the word luck,” said Mike, who, at 52 years old, has been inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame, won two Kentucky Derbies and Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes, and twenty-six Breeders’ Cup World Championships. “It seems like the harder you work the luckier you get, but I don’t necessarily believe in it. People are certainly blessed, but using the word luck seems lazy to me. Some people say, ‘well he got lucky,’ but I worked hard for each and every opportunity and I have made the most out of them.”