349 Motorists Stopped Near Del Mar Racetrack; Mike Smith's Arrest Not Part Of DUI Crackdown In Area
11:18 PM, Jan 22, 2012
A Hall of Fame jockey who won the opening-day stakes at this summer's Del Mar thoroughbred-racing season was jailed hours later on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Torrey Highlands, authorities said Thursday.
Mike Smith, 45, won the Oceanside Stakes riding a horse named Mr. Commons at the Del Mar Racetrack Wednesday. He was pulled over by a San Diego police officer shortly before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday near Carmel Valley Road and Via Albertura, about 5.5 miles from the track, according to Lt. Andra Brown of the San Diego Police Department.The Pasadena resident's 2011 Land Rover allegedly was weaving while passing through the area at a very slow speed, prompting a patrol officer to pull Smith over on suspicion of DUI, Brown said. The jockey said he had left a restaurant a short time earlier.Smith was booked into county jail early Wednesday morning, and then was released after posting $2,500 bail several hours later, according to sheriff's officials. His initial court date in the case is scheduled for Sept. 1.When 10News contacted Smith's agent, he said he was unaware of the allegations."No, I didn't hear anything about it," Smith's agent told 10News. "Like I said, I saw him at 5:30 this morning. He was working a horse and he worked one right after that and never said a word about it. So, I don't know what a ... you know, I don't know anything, he never said a word."10News reporter Jennifer Jensen spoke to Smith after a race Thursday afternoon and he offered an apology for his actions."Just really disappointed in myself; I know better. I apologize to everyone, the fans. You live and learn. I just had about 3 glasses of wine, and at 115 pounds it's too much, I guess," Smith said."This seems to be something that would not impair his ability to ride or would legally restrict him from accepting mounts in future races," said Joe Harper, general manager and president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing Club.Harper added Smith's situation was a legal matter that will be handled in court.On Wednesday, the opening day of the 72nd summer season of thoroughbred racing in Del Mar, Smith rode favorite Mr. Commons to victory in the featured $112,100 Oceanside Stakes in front of a crowd deemed to be the largest in the oceanfront track's 74-year history.Smith, a 2003 inductee in the horse-racing Hall of Fame, has won 10 American Classic and Breeders' Cup races, including the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes, according to the Keeneland thoroughbred racing agency.Smith has nearly 5,000 career victories and made headlines last year while riding Zenyatta to 16 straight wins.San Diego County sheriff's deputies, along with police from San Diego, Oceanside and other local cities, stopped a total of 349 motorists near the track between 3 p.m. Wednesday and midnight, according to the sheriff's Lt. Jose Sanchez.In addition to the 15 arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, two were arrested on suspicion of drug possession and four were arrested for driving with a suspended license, Sanchez said.Also, 35 citations were issued for various traffic violations and 14 vehicles were impounded during the operation, the lieutenant said.Brown told 10News' media partner the San Diego Union-Tribune that Smith's arrest was not part of the sheriff's department's operation. Races are scheduled Wednesdays through Sundays though September 7.