LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Triple Crown-winning jockey Mike Smith will ride in the Kentucky Derby after all.
He picked up the mount on 30-1 shot Cutting Humor, trained by Todd Pletcher, race officials said Friday.
The 53-year-old rider had been on the early 4-1 favourite, Omaha Beach, until the colt was scratched because of a breathing problem.
Smith originally chose to ride Omaha Beach over Roadster, one of three Derby horses trained by Bob Baffert. Once Omaha Beach was out of Saturday's race, Baffert said he wouldn't change any of his riders.
Smith won last year's Derby with Justify, trained by Baffert. They went on to sweep the Preakness and Belmont to capture the Triple Crown. Smith won his first Derby with 50-1 shot Giacomo in 2005.
Cutting Humor was the last Derby horse to have a rider named Monday when Corey Lanerie got the mount. He would have been aboard the colt for the first time. But once Smith became available, owner Starlight Racing decided to go with the jockey nicknamed Big Money Mike for his ability to win some of the sport's richest races.
Lanerie recently won his 1,000th career race at Churchill Downs. He has ridden in the Derby four times, with his best finish second aboard Lookin At Lee in 2017. His 42-year-old wife died of breast cancer last June.