Despite four important wins and three seconds on Santa Anita’s major Breeders’ Cup program at Santa Anita Saturday, Gary Stevens
was not resting on his laurels on a picturesque Sunday morning at The Great Race Place. Far from it.
Nearly a year into his return to the saddle at the age of 50 after a seven-year retirement, Gary Stevens is looking to the future.
And why not? Yesterday he finished second on She’s a Tiger in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes; second aboard Marketing Mix in the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes; won the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes on Beholder; won the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Mucho Macho Man; and capped his day with a win aboard Ponchatrain in the lost-in-the-shuffle Unzip Me Stakes.
Looking fresh and fit, Stevens was able to capsulize in typically articulate fashion his memorable experience.
“My good friend Mike Tice (former Head Coach, Minnesota Vikings) texted me yesterday and said, ‘I see you’re on a bunch, which ones do you like?’ I said, ‘You know me; all of ‘em,’ so he texted me last night and said, ‘Man, you weren’t lying.’
“I had some tough beats. She’s a Tiger is really going to benefit from yesterday’s race, so I look forward to her coming back in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 1). Obviously, it was a tough loss for Marketing Mix (beaten a head), too. I think she’ll move forward as well.
“They were tough beats but I was able to shake them off and say, ‘Well, I’ve got four more really good chances here, and being able to pull it off was a pretty good feeling.”
Hard to speculate that Beholder and Mucho Macho Man could run any better than they did Saturday, but Stevens said he thinks they, too, will benefit.”
Despite his wondrous day on the race track, the best was yet to come for Stevens Saturday.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night, to be honest with you,” Gary said. “I celebrated a little bit after the races, but when got home, my son (Tory C., known as T.C.) had a runner (Sultry Warrior) in the 10th race at Churchill Downs last night. I got home in time to see it and he won his first race (as a trainer).
“It paid $104.40 and I think I got more wound up over that than the day I had.”
Proving once again that blood is thicker than water, or money either, for that matter.