I guess when
you are a jockey with a name like Gary Stevens you better be good, and it looks like we have another good one. Did you see
today’s Grade 2 Santa Maria? I mean for
a new rider, it was simply masterful. This kid was on one of the race’s long
shots, a mare named Great Hot, and it was like Stevens was riding the odds-on
choice. Breaking from the inside, the pair went right out to the early lead
with the three big favorites all content to sit and wait just a little bit off.
Furlong after furlong went by and you could just see the young rider expertly
saving just the right amount of energy for the stretch run.
Sure enough, the
big favorite, Book Review, came running, but Stevens had judged things to perfection,
and was able to get his mare to the wire a winner without ever too much worry.
one comes on the heels of last week’s ride when he sprang Slim Shadey right
out to the lead from post position 11 in the Grade 2 San Marcos. From there
horse and rider led the field on a merry chase to the tune of a rather easy one-length
tally over 7-2 favorite Interaction. That one was the young Stevens’ first stakes
win. I mean it’s like this kid has been doing it all his life. Not bad for a
jockey who just started riding on January 6.
I wonder if
he is any relation to that great rider from Idaho with the same name. Remember
him? Man, he was good. If memory serves me, he took home three Kentucky Derby trophies,
and a bunch of wins in the Breeders’ Cup, Preakness and Belmont as well. I’m
not sure, but didn’t he win the Santa Anita Derby like 21 times too? Come to
think of it, I’m pretty sure he even rode Seabiscuit a few times. Last I heard
he was turning fifty -or sixty - soon and is one of those Screen Actors Guild guys
I wonder if
the old Gary Stevens is watching this new one. If he is, he has to like what he