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Stevens a Winner On and Off Track

Gary Stevens took time from having his picture taken in Santa Anita’s winner’s circle to visit New York Monday night where he was among those honored at a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, hosted by the Buoniconti Fund, the fundingraising arm of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D., and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game.

Among the other athletes honored in addition to Stevens were Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy and Nick Faldo.

“It was a great night,” said Stevens, Santa Anita’s riding leader through three days with six wins from 13 mounts, four of the triumphs coming in stakes races. “I enjoy doing charity work and fund raisers, but this was probably one of the most enjoyable I have done.

“I’m a huge advocate of paralysis research. (Bill) Shoemaker had me on the paralysis project of Los Angeles. He was on that board. I’ve been aware of the research that’s been ongoing for many years.”

Stevens and his peers have had their awareness heightened to an even greater extent by the more recent spinal injuries of jockeys Rene Douglas and Eibar Coa.

“The Buoniconti Fund raises money for the Miami project, which is the biggest paralysis researcher in the world,” Stevens said. “They are making wonderful advances; they raised huge money the other night. It was a great evening and a fun night.”


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