Hello from California, where anticipation is rising and we're all putting in our final preparations for the big event -- the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Nov. 5 & 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
I'm Mike Smith, and since 1982 I've been a professional jockey. I'm a Hall of Fame member and I've ridden some great horses throughout the years, including a Kentucky Derby winner, a Preakness winner, the winner of last year's Belmont Stakes and more than a few Breeders' Cup winners. But most of you know me because of the greatest runner of them all, the undefeated Zenyatta.
She's an amazing gift, and I've been blessed beyond belief to be in the saddle for all but three of her 19 victories. Coming up in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic, I'll send her from the starting gate in the final race of her career, as we try to repeat what we did in last year's Classic and make it 20-for-20. It's going to be the ride of my life.
For the week leading up to thoroughbred racing's season championship games, I'll be your eyes and ears on the ground at Churchill Downs. Leave your questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. I've teamed up with ESPN.com to start this blog, which will launch today but will really get up and running November 1st through the 7th.
Until then, I'll be riding here in California for these next few days, sticking to my personal training regimen, and spending time with the big mare. "60 Minutes" is going to do a piece on her, so that'll be fun to participate in. We'll work her one more time before the Breeders' Cup and then we'll all get on a plane and head to Louisville.
Whether you're there in person or simply through this blog, I hope you'll join me!
Mike Smith is one of Thoroughbred racing's most recognizable riders. The recipient of ESPN's 1993 ESPY award for outstanding jockey and the 2000 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner, he has guided numerous champions to victory throughout the span of his 28-year career. He is closing in on the 5,000-win mark with less than 90 victories to go. Visit his website at www.mikesmith-jockey.com