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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Speedy Smithwick, jockey and trainer, died April 23

Daniel M (Speedy) Smithwick Jr, 62, of Middleburg, Va., passed away on April 23, 2022.

Speedy Smithwick withhisfather Mikey at the Middleburg races. Douglas LeesSpeedy Smithwick with his father Mikey at the Middleburg races. (Photo by Douglas Lees)Speedy’s passion was the sport of horse racing.

He was born on Oct. 27, 1959 to two Hall of Fame horse trainers, Dorothy Fred Smithwick and D.M. ‘Mikey’ Smithwick.

As a child, Speedy juggled his time between Hyde, Md., Middleburg, and Long Island, NY.

He spent his summers on the Mrs. Phipps' estate watching his dad train steeplechase legends such as Neji and Top Bid.

Speedy followed in his parents’ fabled footsteps.

Speedy would become one of the nation’s top amateur steeplechase jockeys with wins including the 1984 Virginia Gold Cup, the 1985 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, and the Iroquois Steeplechase (three times).


ON DEC. 10, 1988, Speedy married Eva Dahlgren, who shared his passion and gift with horses.

Together with Eva, the couple began their flat-track careers training for the late Jack Kent Cooke in California and Kentucky.

And it was on the flat where Speedy found a path different from his parents and his true passion.

He raced across the country at tracks like Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Saratoga, the Fairgrounds, Keeneland, Churchill, Gulfstream, Belmont, Arlington, and made friends along the way, some of whom would stay with him for the remainder of his life, like his beloved groom Clementino Salazar.

He trained multiple graded stakes winners for various owners; some of his favorites included Ziggy’s Act, Zignew, Glacial, and Sauve Voir Faire.

Speedy could recall with clarity every horse he trained or rode, which made him an fascinating storyteller.

After the death of his mother, Speedy would return to Sunny Bank Farm in Middleburg, where he and Eva would dabble in steeplechase, foxhunting, and herding cattle.

Speedy was known for his sense of humor, his kindness, and his optimism.

He is survived by Eva; daughters Kathy Smithwick Swain and Patricia Smithwick; granddaughter, Dorothy Adelaide Swain, who was named after his mother; brother Roger; and many close friends.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Va., on Monday, May 16 at 11am with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs.

The Horse of Delaware Valley

Editor: Sara Cavanagh

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