Gary L. Stevens

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Gary L. Stevens
Gary Stevens Preakness.jpg
Gary Stevens at the 2013 Preakness Stakes
OccupationJockey
Born(1963-03-06) March 6, 1963 (age 51)
Caldwell, Idaho, U.S.
Career wins4,980 US (ongoing),As of 28 March 2014[1] 5000+ worldwide
Major racing wins, honours and awards
Major racing wins

American Classic Race wins:

Breeders' Cup wins

Racing awards
Significant horses
 
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Gary L. Stevens
Gary Stevens Preakness.jpg
Gary Stevens at the 2013 Preakness Stakes
OccupationJockey
Born(1963-03-06) March 6, 1963 (age 51)
Caldwell, Idaho, U.S.
Career wins4,980 US (ongoing),As of 28 March 2014[1] 5000+ worldwide
Major racing wins, honours and awards
Major racing wins

American Classic Race wins:

Breeders' Cup wins

Racing awards
Significant horses

Gary Lynn Stevens (born March 6, 1963 in Caldwell, Idaho) is an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey, actor, television personality and sports analyst. He worked as a jockey from 1979 until a brief retirement due to knee problems from 1999 until 2000, whereupon he returned to racing. He had an acting role in the 2003 film Seabiscuit and continued to ride until a second retirement in 2005, also related to knee issues. He then worked for HRTV and NBC Sports as a horse racing analyst for seven years, had a brief stint as a race horse trainer, and took a few other acting roles, notably in the TV series Luck, before coming out of retirement again in 2013. In the 2013 season, he won 69 of 383 races and finished the year 12th in the nation in purse earnings, winning a number of significant races including the 2013 Preakness Stakes, the Breeders' Cup Distaff and the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Background[edit]

Although forced to wear a hip brace for 19 months at age 7 due to a degenerative disease of the hip, Perthes syndrome, Stevens began working for his horse trainer father, Ron, as a groom at age 8. By the time he was 14, he was riding American Quarter Horses.

Stevens dropped out of high school, after an all-star wrestling season, to become a full-time jockey. He began his career in 1979 at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho, and in his first start had a winner Thoroughbred. From there he soon became a leading rider in Washington. He then moved down the coast into California, becoming part of the leading competitive jockey groups there.

Racing career[edit]

In 1993, Gary Stevens became the youngest jockey to surpass $100 million in earnings.

Stevens won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes three times each. He won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times, and he's won eight Breeders' Cup races, making him the fourth-leading money winner in Breeders' Cup history so far. At the time of his 2005 retirement, his mounts had collected over $221 million with 4,888 winners in the US[2] and 5005 wins[3] when including overseas victories,[4] including 49 wins in the UK,[5] and 20 victories in Hong Kong.[6] Coming back in 2013, he won the Preakness Stakes on Oxbow and added additional wins to his lifetime total, including an international victory in the Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse that raised his lifetime win record in the United Kingdom to 50.[5]

Awards[edit]

Stevens at the 2005 Kentucky Derby

Gary Stevens has won numerous awards and prizes in the horse racing industry, including the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1996. The award honors riders whose careers and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. In 1997, Stevens entered the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and in 1998, he was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States. In 1999, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship".

The Perfect Ride[edit]

In 2002, Gary wrote a book about his life called The Perfect Ride.[7][8] Hall of Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker had this to say about Stevens' book: "A Perfect Ride is a great read, not only for horse racing fans, but for anyone interested in how the American dream really works."

Acting career[edit]

In the 2003 film Seabiscuit, Stevens played jockey George Woolf. In 2011 he became a regular cast member on the HBO television series Luck produced by avid horse racing fan and Thoroughbred owner David Milch, starring as an on-the-skids jockey named Ronnie.

Retirement[edit]

Gary Stevens at his 2005 retirement with his wife, Angie.

On November 27, 2005, Stevens announced his retirement. That day at Churchill Downs, he finished second aboard a 4-year-old mare named Louve Royale.[9] A week after his favorite horse, Rock Hard Ten, was forced to retire due to a foot injury, Stevens started working in January 2006 as a racing analyst with TVG. Also that month he joined NBC Sports as its lead horse racing analyst. James Risch, Governor of Idaho, proclaimed the week of July 10, 2006, to be Gary Stevens Week.[10] In March 2007, Stevens became the jockey agent for Corey Nakatani. Gary started a new job as a racing commentator for HRTV on January 1, 2008. On June 1, 2009, Stevens began Gary Stevens Racing Stable Inc. where Stevens trained horses with the assistance of his son, T.C. Stevens. Stevens' horses were stabled at Santa Anita and shipped to various races throughout the country.[11]

In 2003, Gary Stevens stated in an interview with Charlie Rose that he doesn't think there will be another Triple Crown winner because of the tendency for owners to put fresh horses in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.[12] After Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby in 2008, Stevens said: "It's been 30 years since we had our last Triple Crown winner – it's time for another."[13]

Comeback[edit]

Stevens after winning 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic on Mucho Macho Man

On January 3, 2013, Stevens revealed on HRTV that he was coming out of retirement to ride horses as a professional jockey again. He was named to ride a horse at Santa Anita Park on January 6.[14] On January 12, 2013, Stevens won the first race of his comeback. It was an MSW event at Santa Anita Racetrack aboard the filly Branding, bred by Royal Pegasus Farm, Lexington, Kentucky.

Stevens' first graded stakes win of his comeback came in the 2013 San Marcos Stakes when he guided home Slim Shadey for the horse's second win in that race. On May 18, 2013, Stevens aboard Oxbow won the 138th Preakness Stakes, his third Preakness win, as well as winning the Dixieland Stakes on the undercard with Skyring.[15] On November 1–2 at Santa Anita Park, Stevens won his third Breeders' Cup Distaff with Beholder as well as his first Breeders' Cup Classic aboard Mucho Macho Man.[16] His Classic win was the first in 15 total attempts, and he was the only jockey to have ridden in both the first Breeders' Cup in 1984 and in the 30th even in 2013.[17] He finished the year 12th in the nation by earnings with 69 wins from 383 races and his lifetime wins total stood at 4,957.[1] HIs wins for 2013 included 18 graded stakes victories.[18] 2013 marked Stevens' third most successful year since 2000, comparing favorably to his 23 graded stakes wins from 487 starts and 94 wins in 2005 and 532 starts with 99 wins with 22 graded stakes wins in 2001.[1][18]

Statistics[edit]

Chart (2000–present)[1]Position
National Earnings List for Jockeys 200075
National Earnings List for Jockeys 20017
National Earnings List for Jockeys 200255
National Earnings List for Jockeys 200334
National Earnings List for Jockeys 200467
National Earnings List for Jockeys 200515
National Earnings List for Jockeys 201312
Preceded by
Jerry D. Bailey
Jockeys' Guild President
1996-2000
Succeeded by
Pat Day

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.equibase.com/profiles/Results.cfm?type=People&searchType=J&eID=1811
  2. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/horseracing/2013/01/03/hall-of-fame-jockey-gary-stevens-comeback/1807761/
  3. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1114362/index.htm
  4. ^ http://www.jockeysguild.com/news/2007/05/guidryhits5000wins.html
  5. ^ a b http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/79982/european-jockeys-capture-ascots-shergar-cup
  6. ^ http://www.scmp.com/sport/hong-kong/article/1355367/gary-stevens-joins-all-star-cast-international-jockeys-championship
  7. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=dZA2SrvIbm8C&dq
  8. ^ http://www.horse-races.net/library/review-060402.htm
  9. ^ Gary Stevens finished second in last race - Pravda.Ru
  10. ^ Governor James E. Risch - The State of Idaho Proclamation Gary Stevens Week
  11. ^ Gantz, Tracy (2007-03-19). "Nakatani Says Stevens to Become His Agent". The BloodHorse. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  12. ^ http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/1878, July 21, 2003, retrieved April 6, 2010
  13. ^ http://www.horseraceinsider.com/Press-Release/article/monster-horse-big-brown-seeking-first-triple-crown-in-30-years/. retrieved 5/16/2001.
  14. ^ Andersen, Steve (2013-01-03). "Gary Stevens returns to the saddle Sunday at Santa Anita". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  15. ^ http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/horse_racing/preak_of_his_powers_LXfv4wHLBh2bFu4uNExSmO
  16. ^ http://www.drf.com/news/breeders-cup-classic-mucho-macho-man-stevens-win-thriller
  17. ^ http://www.paulickreport.com/news/breeders-cup/stevens-caps-comeback-year-with-macho-win-in-classic/
  18. ^ a b http://www.equibase.com/profiles/Results.cfm?type=StakesListing&searchType=J&eID=1811

External links[edit]