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Baffert, Smith headline annual Governor’s Dinner

In its first 50 years, the Governor’s Dinner has seen appearances from Hall of Fame athletes to all-time University of Nevada Wolf Pack athletic greats to iconic coaches.

The 51st annual Governor’s Dinner adds a new twist on Northern Nevada’s premier summer social event: an evening with horse racing’s royalty.

Bob Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown winner and a five-time Kentucky Derby champion as a trainer, and Mike Smith, a Hall of Fame jockey who rode Justify to the Triple Crown last year, will headline the Nevada athletics department’s annual event on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City.

The event is set for July 11, with a private VIP reception featuring live music and cocktails at 5 p.m., doors opening at 6 p.m. and the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Tickets are $350 per person or tables of 10 for $3,500. VIP tickets, which includes the pre-event VIP reception, along with complimentary valet, pictures with Baffert and Smith, and premier reserved seating for the dinner and program, are $500 per person or tables at $5,000. The registration deadline is July 5.

Baffert is one of just two trainers in the history of the sport to train two Triple Crown winners. He broke a 37-year drought in the sport’s ultimate achievement in 2015 when American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. He then bagged his second Triple Crown – there have only been 13 – with Justify in 2018.

He has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Training four times, and he is a member of the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame. In all, Baffert’s horses have won five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes, three Kentucky Oaks and 15 Breeders’ Cup races.

Smith was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2003, and he’s second all-time in terms of earnings with more than $312 million during his career as a jockey. At age 53, he’s still at the top of his game and is one of the leading riders in the nation, having captured more Breeders’ Cup wins (26), than any other jockey.

He has won more than 5,400 races in his illustrious career, which includes seven wins in Triple Crown races and 26 victories in the Breeders’ Cup series. He is a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and a three-time winner of the Bill Shoemaker Award.

There only have been 12 jockeys who have won the Triple Crown and last year, at the age of 52, Smith became the oldest to do so atop Justify. He has won seven times in Triple Crown races and also had two wins in the Kentucky Oaks and five international race wins, including the Dubai Classic in 2017.

Tickets are on sale now and available online at www.NevadaWolfPack.com/GovernorsDinner or by calling 775-682-6901. All tickets include cocktails and a reserved seat for dinner and the program at the event. All proceeds from the Governor’s Dinner benefit student-athlete scholarships at the University of Nevada. For more information on the event, contact Nevada’s Director of Special Events Kim Anastassatos at kima@unr.edu.

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