Horse Racing - Smith: Belmont win meant a lot

Winning the Belmont Stakes aboard Palace Malice meant a lot to Mike Smith, as he explained during the post-race press conference.

Horse Racing - Smith: Belmont win meant a lot

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Jockey Mike Smith after winning the Belmont Stakes aboard Palace Malice (AFP)

Can you describe the feeling you had today across the finish line as opposed to last year and all three Triple Crown races?

I guess I should be an optimist, and say all three races last year ran extremely well. But today meant a lot to me. Mr Campbell, Dogwood and Todd, just for having faith in me, believing in me, and keeping me on. They certainly could have changed very easily after the (Kentucky) Derby (when Palace Malice finished 12th).

Obviously the Derby was a sloppy track in Kentucky. Were you worried it was going to be like this today with the weather we had yesterday?

Early on it was sloppy... and with the wind that was going on and the great weather this track dries really quickly. Of course by the sixth, seventh race you could already it was going to be a fast track.

Did you feel strongly?

One of the closers were going to have to run a race of a lifetime to get by me. I felt like I was moving that good.

Do you think that having the post position of 12 helped your horse?

I was happy with the post. I know Todd was, Mr Campbell was. It was a matter of getting in the right order, getting into rhythm. Once I put my hands on him, he’s been taught that and he did it.

How does this horse rate to some of the great Belmont wins you’ve been in?

As Todd said earlier, he knew he had that good one in him. He showed that today. If he could come back and keep this performance a time or two, he’s going to rank way up there. Some big races left for him.

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