McKinzie will have a new rider in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Trainer Bob Baffert on Tuesday said that he has decided to make a switch from Mike Smith, who has ridden McKinzie in all 13 of his career starts. This follows a second-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Awesome Again Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, the colt's fourth second-place finish this year in six starts.
"I'm still going to use Mike on horses," Baffert said Tuesday. "But for the Classic, I'm going to make a change. I let Mike know now, because I want to give him a chance to get something else."
Baffert said he did not yet have a replacement for Smith. But considering that McKinzie is the pro-tem favorite for the race, he'll likely be hearing from plenty of agents in short order.
Under Smith, McKinzie won seven times in 13 starts, including the Malibu and Whitney in the past 12 months. He had a troubled trip when second in the Met Mile to Mitole earlier this year.
McKinzie has won twice and finished second four times this year. He has three wins and four seconds in seven lifetime starts at Santa Anita.