Derby winner's hometown expresses excitement | KOB 4
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Derby winner's hometown expresses excitement

Derby winner's hometown expresses excitement

Casey Torres
May 08, 2018 06:58 PM

DEXTER, N.M. – Mike Smith rode the horse Justify across the finish line at the Churchill Downs on Saturday, winning the 144th Kentucky Derby. It's his second derby win, despite the rain and muddy track.

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The 52-year-old New Mexico native's victory is increasing his popularity, but his hometown of Dexter knew of him since he was a kid.

"He's always had a love for horses in his heart and he's always been very good at it," said Gloria Vallejos, his aunt.

Vallejos said Smith would go to races with his grandfather, and that’s when she believes his love for the sport began. Vallejos also said that he would pretend to be a horse as a kid, along with her son.

"He was destined for his career since he was a little boy," she said.

Vallejos clarified that Smith was born in Roswell, but Dexter was the town where he was raised and made memories as a kid. Dexter residents who haven't met him, are still proud of him and feel he has done a lot for their town.

"I think it’s very exciting, especially for the townspeople that watched him grow up, for our little town," said Amy Deutsch, a librarian at Dexter High School.

Deutsch said this has inspired students at the school to believe they can make their dreams come true.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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