Triple-Crown Winning Jockey Mike Smith shares his experience with bringing Honor A. P. into the Classic Picture in this Q & A with Millie Ball

Millie: You have raced Honor A. P. from the start. What do you consider to be his best attributes as a Classic candidate?

Mike: He’s extremely intelligent, he’s very good from the gate, very well balanced, he’s bred to go the mile and a quarter distance. As a matter of fact, with each one of his races he seems to get better the farther we go. Other than getting a little bit tired in the San Felipe, which we knew he would, with that race under our belt I believe he should get the mile and an eighth, no problem at all, in the Santa Anita Derby. I think you’re going to see this horse get better.

Millie: Authentic appeared to have everything his own way in the San Felipe. What did you learn about Honor A. P. that could help you win the Santa Anita Derby?

Mike: Honor A. P. had had a foot injury so we were going into the San Felipe probably about seventy-five to eighty percent, if that, so we were really happy with the way I got to him (Authentic). Although I wasn’t able to pass him that day at least I got to him and then when Authentic drew off, that’s about the time Honor A. P. was getting tired. So with that race under our belt and the way he’s training now hopefully we’ll have that passing gear to get on by him this time around.

San Felipe:

Millie: We saw Honor A.P. close from the rear in his debut, show enough speed to wire the field to break his maiden, and most recently sit off the pace in the San Felipe. If you could draw up the race, where would you want to place him in the Santa Anita Derby?

Mike: I would say in the first group, probably about 2 or 3 maybe even 4 (lengths) off the lead. Hopefully, there’s a lot of company up there with Authentic, someone pushing him – that would be great! If no-one wants to go though he’s naturally quick enough out of there that he could put himself up there. Authentic seems to be quicker early and it would be nice to see more pace and see my horse laying in third or fourth and making that one big run that he has.

Millie: What were your thoughts on Honor A. P.’s work today? (May 22nd)

Mike: I thought he worked very well. His last two works have been seven-eights so they’ve been long works, just putting some stamina in him. We were going to sharpen him up today, he had a little company out in front of him, I broke off about 3 or 4 lengths behind the company. Going into the far turn I called on him just a little bit, just because I thought I might be back just a little too far and I really liked the way he accelerated. I actually caught the company quicker than I was expecting and then he kind of idled, really nice, just waiting for my command. He went 59 (secs) and change, well within himself, and came back on his toes and dancing so I really liked the work today.


Triple-Crown Winning Jockey Mike Smith shares his experience with bringing Honor A. P. into the Classic Picture in this Q & A with Millie Ball

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