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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Gary Stevens is the Big Sport of Turfdom

Gary Stevens 615 X 400 MMM
Photo: Don August

 

As part of the 2013 Symposium on Racing & Gaming at the University of Arizona, the Turf Publicists of America will present the 2013 Big Sport of Turfdom Award to veteran rider, Gary Stevens. I could not think of a better choice. 

 

After seven years away from race riding, it did not take long for the 50-year-old Hall of Famer to re-establish himself as one of the best in the business. Returning this January, Stevens scored a graded stakes win aboard distance turf specialist Slim Shadey within a few weeks of his return. That early success, though, was only a small sign of bigger things to come, as he has already accounted for eight Grade 1 victories this year. In fact, it has gotten so good for the likeable rider, that it would be hard to pick out one highlight in his year of the return.

 

In May, Stevens scored his third win in racing’s middle jewel when he piloted the front running long shot, Oxbow, to victory in the Preakness Stakes for 78-year-old trainer, D. Wayne Lukas

 

“This year has been crazy and keeps getting better,” Stevens said. “I’m honored. Some of my idols and closest friends have received this award. It’s humbling.”

 

Humbling maybe, but as good as the Preakness was, it did only get better for the Idaho native.  At the recent World Championships at Santa Anita, Stevens starred on both days, taking the signature event on each afternoon’s card. On Friday, he accounted for his third Breeders’ Cup Distaff aboard Beholder, and then on Saturday, he scored his first ever victory in America’s richest race, when he rode Mucho Macho Man to a popular victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

 

“Gary has long been a favorite of racing media and publicists but perhaps never more so than this year, as his remarkable comeback amazed every one of us,” said TPA President Mandy Minger. “Through it all he made himself consistently available with interviews that were both thoughtful and candid.”

 

I can echo Ms. Minger’s sentiment, as my limited experiences with Gary Stevens have always been positive.

 

Stevens not only is one of racing’s best, but he has carried the appeal of the sport successfully to a larger audience, having brought to life the characters of George Woolf on the big screen in the acclaimed 2003 film, Seabiscuit, as well as that of, troubled jockey, Ronnie, on HBO’s television series, Luck.

 

Gary Stevens as the 2013 Big Sport of Turfdom? I’d say so!

 

 

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Older Comments about Gary Stevens is the Big Sport of Turfdom...

Great choice! Saying his Classic victory with Mucho Macho Man was popular is quite the understatement, though.
And don't forget....He rode Seabiscuit to victory hahahaha .... Congrats Gary
Amazing story....It seems like I've been a fan forever....
I agree, Brian, I could not think of a better choice either!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.