Mike Smith fined more than $200,000 for Saudi Cup ride
Top US jockey Mike Smith has been hit with a nine-day ban and huge fine for excessive use of the whip on runner-up Midnight Bisou in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday.
All jockeys received a ten per cent share of any prize-money and Smith was made to forfeit 60 per cent of his claim to the $3.5m prize-money for second place in the world's richest race, landing him with a fine of more than $200,000.
Smith was given an eight-day suspension for using the whip 14 times, above the permitted level of ten. He was given an additional day for using the aid with no regard for the horse's stride.
Phil Tuck, stipendiary steward for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said: "All riders, including Mike, were spoken to at a briefing on Friday and Saturday, and reminded of the relevant rules and penalties.
"A guide to all relevant rules was emailed to visiting riders before their arrival and copies were pinned up in the changing rooms. We are protecting the welfare of the horse and all riders were informed of this."
On a night of deep frustration for the Hall of Fame jockey, Smith had earlier picked up a two-day ban for failing to weigh in after the fifth race.
Midnight Bisou was held up in rear in the Saudi Cup before mounting a challenge against the inside rail in the home straight.
The Steven Asmussen-trained five-year-old made up a lot of ground to get within touching distance of Maximum Security, who kept finding for Luis Saez to score by three quarters of a length.
Smith, whose record in the world's biggest races has earned him the nickname 'Big Money Mike', landed a $30,000 bonus for winning the international jockeys' challenge on the eve of the Saudi Cup card at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh, winning two of the four $400,000 legs.
The California Horse Racing Board confirmed Smith's suspensions, totalling 11 days, have been reciprocated.
Smith was not the only jockey to be in hot water with the stewards as Irad Ortiz was handed an eight-day suspension for excessive use of the whip in race eight on Friday and he was handed another two days for the same offence in the Saudi Cup. the rider was fined ten per cent of his prize-money share.
Oisin Murphy was given a two-day suspension for excessive use of the whip aboard Deirdre on Saturday, but he has applied and been granted Group-race dispensation to ride on Super Saturday in Dubai. He will be suspended on March 6 and 13 subject to confirmation from the BHA.
Read more on the Saudi Cup meeting:
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