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Breeders' Cup 2017

Gary Stevens Back in the Saddle Again

Jockey Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is back. After a seven-year sabbatical from the saddle, the Hall of Fame jockey who turns 50 on March 6 will ride competitively Sunday at Santa Anita when he gets a leg up on 5-year-old gelding Jebrica for trainer Jim Penney in the sixth race, a $50,000 claiming event scheduled for one mile on turf.

“I’m fit, I’m healthy,” said the Hall of Fame member and three-time Kentucky Derby winner who will continue to offer his expertise as analyst for HRTV and NBC-TV. “It’s been a long process getting where I’m at right now. It’s been almost three months and it’s something that I’ve worked very hard at getting to this point.

“Hopefully, I’m not going to come back and embarrass myself and have people say, ‘Aw, it’s another this or that.’ I plan to come back and be effective.

“If I feel at any time that I’m a detriment to a horse’s performance and not an asset, then I’ll hang it right back up. Hopefully, God willing, I won’t be a detriment; I’ll be an asset. The competitive juices are there. They never go away.”

Stevens, born in Caldwell, Idaho, has 4,888 wins from 27,595 career mounts and $221,212,704 in purse money-won.

Consensus from a brief, informal poll of horsemen resulted in wishing Stevens all the best on his return.

“He’s been working some horses for me and he looks great on a horse,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the 1997 Kentucky Derby with Stevens on Silver Charm.

“He still has that competitive fire in his belly. He looks fit. If I thought he couldn’t handle it, I’d tell him. He’s like Peyton Manning. He’s got so much talent that he can give up a little bit.”

Added long-time peer Martin Pedroza: “He’s in the Hall of Fame and a good rider and always has been. He wants to ride and I support him.”

Said retired Hall of Fame member Eddie Delahoussaye, who competed with Stevens in their stellar careers: “Gary wants to do it, so he’s going to give it a shot. I wish him all the luck.”



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Older Comments about Gary Stevens Back in the Saddle Again...

EVEN IF, joint stabilization proceedures aking to bolstering up the knee collaterals, the cruciates, and the menisci, the joint surfaces where all the weight is transferred with each movement, is unchanged unless the joint is completely replaced.....All who have had replacements say the same thing: IT feels better but I cannot move it the same way.
osteoarthritis, the outcome of long and repetitive traumatic arthritis. NEVER gets better, only progresses as less and less articular cartilage is available for joint surfaces. A mesh of sensory nerves are directly under that surface. Stiffness proceeds pain, decreasing range of motion, associated muscular atrophy ensues as well. EVERY person on the planet WILL get it in some degree....I tell patients: IF you live on earth, you will get osteoarthritis unless you are killed before age 35.
Gary Stevens was working horses on a brisk, sunny Saturday morning as the countdown drew closer to 24 hours before the 49-year-old Hall of Fame jockey, retired for the past seven years, makes his competitive return to the races in Sunday’s sixth race aboard Jebrica for trainer Jim Penny. One of the horses Stevens worked was Distracting for fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who gave Stevens a leg up on countless winners, including Silver Charm in the 1997 Kentucky Derby. Distracting went five furlongs in 1:02.80. “Stevens can tell you more about a horse,” Baffert enthused. “He rides a horse one time and can tell you what style will suit it best. He really knows this game up and down.”
Can't wait to see him ride again.

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