Gilbert, AZ – May 11, 2017 –The 143rd running of the historic Kentucky Oaks race took place Friday, May 5, at Churchill Downs. Fourteen fillies lined up to race to the finish, but it was American Equus rider Mike Smith, riding the China Horse Club’s, Abel Tasman, that came out on top.
Smith piloted Abel Tasman, trained by Bob Baffert from the last place after the start to take home the $1 million dollar purse. Despite the less than ideal weather and muddy track, the pair finished the 1 1/8 mile long race in 1:51:62.
|Mike Smith Aboard Abel Tasman. Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography|
Smith said, “The conditions weren’t great, but my filly ran a tremendous race. We were last early on but we were able to gain a lot of ground on the first turn and angle out down the backside and get out of some of that mud. When we did that she just started picking off horses one by one until we hit the front heading for home.”
With difficult conditions to manage, it was important that Smith had irons he felt stable and comfortable in. American Equus has been working closely with Smith to develop stirrup irons that fit his needs and have been a pivotal part in his success.
|Abel Tasman Crossing the Finish Line in the Kentucky Oaks. Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography|
“On a race track like that, the ground is very spotty, sloppy, and wet, and horses can bobble quite a bit,” commented Smith. “You certainly want to have stirrups on that you feel very comfortable and confident with. With the stirrups that I use, I feel like I have more iron up underneath my feet, I feel more balanced. I’ve been using them all the time now and I just love them, I can’t say enough good things about them!”
American Equus’ unique foot bed design incorporates technology that helps the jockey maintain balance as well as keep their foot secure in the stirrup, which proved to be an integral part of Smith’s when breaking from the gate and his safety during the race.
“Anytime you can win a race at Kentucky Oaks is an amazing feeling and I’ve been blessed to have won it before. I knew what it felt like and once you know what it feels like you certainly want to do it again! I was beside myself to be able to come back and win for Bob Baffert and his crew and China Horse Club.”
American Equus, is proud to support talented and professional athletes like Smith and is looking forward to many more successful races on his saddle.
To learn more about American Equus and their complete line of stirrups for all equestrian disciplines, please click here.
To learn more about Mike Smith and his legendary career, please click here .