He bred his first foal in 1970 and took over Kentucky-based Glennwood Farm 19 years later. And then winning the Belmont it's like you finally reached the summit.
Came from behind to win his second race at Santa Anita on March 11 by a comfortable 6-1/2 lengths. Smith has an opportunity to add a Triple Crown to his resume thanks to Justify.
Those were the words that Bob Baffert used several weeks ago about his Triple Crown victor Justify, who arrived in his barn last fall without having run a race as a 2-year-old, after running past a pulled muscle and minor knee surgery a year earlier.
A fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes foiled Kauai King's bid for the Triple Crown.
The 37-year wait for the Triple Crown of horse racing, mercifully ended three years ago when fantastic American Pharoah crossed the finish line first at the 2015 Belmont Stakes, was at the same time exasperating, demoralizing, and borderline comical.
Ron Turcotte, confined to a wheelchair because of a horrific 1978 spill at Belmont, rode superhorse Secretariat to that 31-length rout in 1973 for his Triple Crown.
Harry Rice was Smith's valet since he arrived in NY almost three decades ago.
All that remained was to prove that he had the toughness and resolve to conquer the longest, most grueling leg of the Triple Crown.
Here are the payout results from the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, via CBS Sports.
Last year, Baffert went 4-for-4 on Belmont Stakes day. "They let it go too easy". We saw another Triple Crown victor.
Real Quiet's owners and trainers might still have nightmares of the 1998 Belmont Stakes. Instead, he turned it into a victory lap on his road to history.
As we reported in our Kentucky Derby story, though, the owner of the horse winning the Triple Crown can make far more money in stud fees than just from prize money.
War Emblem won the 2002 Kentucky Derby despite his jockey never meeting the horse until the morning of the race.
Justify wasn't even jinxed by a mid-Triple Crown change in silks - he wore the red and gold of China Horse Club on Saturday.
After three-quarters in 1:13.21, Justify began to inch away from the field.
Funny Cide finished third at Belmont behind two fresher horses that didn't compete in the Preakness.
Justify, who did not race as a two-year-old, is now undefeated in six starts.
If Justify succeeds in sweeping the Triple Crown just three years after American Pharoah, it wouldn't be the first time it has happened close together. WinStar likes to spread its horses around to different trainers.