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Gary Stevens Comeback: Two words, BIG MISTAKE

 

His career spanned four (4) decades. 4,888 Winners Circle appearances that include 3 in the Kentucky Derby, 2 Preakness Stakes, 3 Belmont Stakes and 8 in the Breeders’ Cup.

Since 2005, he has mounted only one thoroughbred for a competitive race. Yet, just 2 months shy of his 50th birthday, Gary L. Stevens still has the burning desire to compete in the Sport of Kings as a jockey.

 

On January 6th at Santa Anita Park, he'll get a leg up on Jebrica in the 6th race, marking the beginning of his comeback. Based on thousands of horse racing fans, trainers, owners and jockeys, the overwhelming sentiment is a positive one. The most common being “Best of Luck”, something the Idaho native seldom needed throughout his racing career.

When in his prime, he was my favorite jockey. Not because we share the same first name. In my mind, he was the most skilled jockey in the business (apologies to Jerry D. Bailey) on any surface, at any distance. Having him in the irons was an automatic upgrade for any runner.

 

Unfortunately it’s 2013, not 1997. Instead of wishing Gary Stevens “Best of Luck”, I have no problem saying, “Big Mistake”. That’s my gut feeling on his return to the track. It has nothing to do with the physical uncertainty of his knees, rather everything to do with results seem by those in other sports who have travelled the same road. Michael Jordan (NBA). Joe Frazier (boxing). Brett Favre (NFL).  Dominik Hasek (NHL).

 

None achieved success anywhere close to their pre-retirement years. The majority went as far as to tarnish their legacy. Is racings Hall of Famer trying to be the first? Can we believe that at age 50 he’ll be content “… with the hope of helping develop good racehorses”? Couldn't he have done that while he tried his hand at training?

 

Upon hearing the news of his comeback, my immediate thought was, WHY?! He seemed to be enjoying the retired life, remaining in the horse racing spotlight as an analyst for TVG, HRTV and NBC Sports. He got the acting-bug when cast as George Woolf  in the 2003 film “Seabiscuit”. Most recently he was a regular cast member on the short-lived HBO TV series “Luck. He’s even an accomplished drummer who could sit in for Max Weinberg on Conan O’Brien’s show, when Max goes on tour with Bruce Springsteen

            
 

 

So I ask WHY? A horse racing jockey’s job is the most demanding of any professional sports athlete in the world. Pound for pound they need to be the strongest, in mind and body. I have no doubt that Stevens’ mind is as strong as ever, but Father Time is undefeated. The physical demands of being a successful jockey at age 50 and reliving his Glory Days is a longshot.           

 

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Older Comments about Gary Stevens Comeback: Two words, BIG MISTAKE...

Quit dredging up this old thread. Why not build a crucifix out back already. Guy made the wrong prediction; so what? I hate this thread.
I think you have the wrong site. If you'd like to fight, please go here> http://www.goarmy.com/learn/apply.html
yYOUR COMMENT Is a Big Mistake. If Bill Shoemaker rode til he was 56, Gary could come back at 50.
yup
Thanks HRN.
Good, the disgusting was erased.
Use of easy instead of easily and general hick like comments, non PC rudeness, and insanity.
We have my stalker back Buck. P leasure to see that the Mental Midgets do come out and play in the holiday season.
Big bill was different to say the least. That was a long walk Tom especially in that weather.
Buck i do not remember him,sounds like he was a gem. The drenching was worth it during the walk on the track.Due to the lack of cabs and them shutting down the surrounding area to the track.I hated the 2 mile walk in the rain,back to the hotel.
Tom. Sorry you got drenched. Yes the alias system seems to be alive and well, but I don't think this guy was one, but I could be wrong.
Maybe he was an alias.Seems many play that hand. Good one Buck. I wish Bill was correct on his forecast. I got drenched.
Bigbill859. Not commenting anymore--a true loss (for comic relief that is).
The Stevens take was bigbill’s penultimate. He disappeared following this forecast… bigbill859 - Re: 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) 5/3/2013 10:35 PM no rain its not going to rain << :D
The Sports Illustrated award would be nice punctuation for ending this calendar year of return for Gary. He garnered attention for himself and for thoroughbred racing by making this effort. The SI nomination article is well worth reading.
I am sure of that.
You should see some of the stuff you once said :D
Amino,you really have it out for this guy Bill.
bigbill859 - 4/25/2013 4:37 PM gary stevens is so bad he should of stayed retired he is BAD
As long as he paces himself and does not overdo on a weekly basis ,he should be Ok for at least 2 yrs. Still has that positive Cockiness when he is on the best horse. For the big races,the Adrenelin will carry him.

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