Born February 6, 1934, in Junction City, Kansas, Marion L. “Million Dollar” Smith, accomplished one of the greatest feats in Washington racing history – twice winning the Longacres Mile with rejuvenated claimers.
Pitch Out, claimed for a then state-record $16,000 by S. J. Agnew, prevailed in the 1971 Mile; and Snipledo, claimed for a record $60,000 by Robert Resoff, won the 1990 Longacres Mile.
In fact, Snipledo’s four-length win in the Longacres Mile was the exclamation point to one of the greatest single-seasons in state racing history. Under Smith, Snipledo was six-for-six and finished 1990 with a then single-season earnings record of $273,810 and honors as Washington Horse of the Year and Longacres horse of the meeting.
Nicknamed “Million Dollar” for his penchant for winning big races, Smith tied fellow Hall of Famer Jim Penney for No. 4 all-time in Longacres stakes wins with 36.
Smith saddled DanDar Farm’s Silk Chiffon to consecutive wins in the 1985-86 Belle Roberts Handicaps, which at the time was the track’s championship event for older fillies and mares.
Smith also had victories in the track’s two other signature races. Washington champion juvenile Maharesred romped in the 1988 Gottstein Futurity for breeders/owners Al and Joyce Bell, and Dan Agnew’s Star Recruit prevailed in the 1992 Longacres Derby.
Smith also maintained off-season stables in California, spending successful winters in the Bay Area and at the Los Angeles area tracks, but he enjoyed his greatest success in Seattle, where his barn perennially ranked among the leaders in wins, win percentage and earnings.
Other multiple stakes winners trained by Smith include Washington champion sprinter Sharper One, Murrtheblurr, Space Patroller, Aunt Iva, Icy Folly and Run Roni Run.
In 1990, Smith was honored with the Steve O’Donnell Memorial Award (now renamed the Martin Durkan Award).