12/08/2004 12:00AM

Life couldn't be sweeter for Guy Smith

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Guy Smith is at the top of his game both professionally and personally. He leads the standings at Delta Downs in wins, earnings, and stakes victories, and in July, he and his wife, Holly, welcomed a daughter, Macy.

The family makes their home in Vinton, La., where Smith decided to set up shop after Boyd Gaming purchased Delta in 2001 and installed slots. Since then, purses have hit record levels, and Smith has won his share. The current meet opened in October, and in a little more than two months Smith's mounts have earned $813,748.

Smith had won 42 races at the meet through Tuesday, eight more than second-leading rider C.J. Woodley. Woodley's mounts have earned $536,114, which is good for third-best in that category behind Smith and Victor Espinoza, who won the $1 million Delta Jackpot last Saturday and earned $600,000.

Smith finished fifth in the Jackpot with Cherokee Path and won the $75,000 Treasure Chest on the undercard aboard So Much More to bring his number of stakes wins at the meet to five. It has been an excellent season so far, and Smith credits a couple of factors, including the work of his agent, Louis Coco.

"I got off to a good start, which makes a big difference in your meet," said Smith. "I was very blessed. I won a couple of stakes the first couple of weeks, and that always gets people's attention."

Smith has also ridden a number of horses for Keith Bourgeois, who tops all trainers at Delta.

Smith, 35, rode his first career winner at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 30, 1992. He is a native of Houston, and following the Delta meet plans to ride at the new Evangeline Downs.

Another stakes win for Smith?

Smith will ride Midnight Delight in the $40,000 Gardenia on Friday night at Delta. The 6 1/2-furlong race is for fillies and mares bred in Louisiana, and it drew a full field of 10.

Midnight Delight could go favored, despite being off since July. She will return to statebred company after winning an open-company allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs in her last start, which came at Louisiana Downs. Midnight Delight also defeated open company in a seven-furlong allow-ance at Delta in March.

The Delta allowance was run over two turns, as will be the Gardenia.

Other top contenders in the race include Living Lavida Lisa and Dulciana, an uncoupled pair of fillies trained by Bourgeois.

Coronado Rose to Houston

Coronado Rose, whose neck win in the $40,000 Delta Belle at Delta on Nov. 20 lifted Steve Asmussen to a record for trainer wins in a year in North America, will resurface in January. Asmussen said she is being pointed for the $40,000 River Oaks at Sam Houston Race Park. The six-furlong race for fillies will be run Jan. 15.

Coronado Rose has won her last three starts, including the $50,000 Princess at Sunland. With her win in the Delta Belle, she gave Asmussen a record 497th win for the calendar year, eclipsing the mark of 496, which was set by Jack Van Berg in 1976. Asmussen had won 526 races this year through Tuesday.