Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens Returns to Saddle

Michael Dempsey@turfnsportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2013

6 Nov 1999: Gary Stevens #9 smiles as he walks to the winners circle on Anees after winning the Juvenile during the Breeders Cup at Gulf Stream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

 The rumors have been flying the past few weeks, and now it has been confirmed, that retired hall of fame jockey, Gary Stevens, is making a comeback.

Stevens announced on Thursday, on the Horse Racing Television Network (HRTV), that he intends to return to the saddle on Sunday at Santa Anita Park.

“I want to give it a go again,” said Stevens. “I can honestly say after being on horses the last eight weeks my knees didn't feel this good the last 5 years I rode."

Stevens has been denying rumors of his comeback, and his website, Thursday morning, still had a headline that read, “Gary IS NOT planning to make a comeback. He just wants to be fit. Watch for him on TV!”

Stevens last rode in November of 2005, and retired with 4,881 winners and over $220 million in purse-earnings.

His last mount came at Churchill Downs, where he finished second, aboard four-year-old mare, Louve Royale, on November 27, 2005.

Stevens, who turns 50 in March, has won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes three times, the Preakness Stakes twice, and has won eight Breeders’ Cup races in his career.

Stevens is also well known for his role as "George Woolf" in the 2003 film Seabiscuit, and in the HBO series Luck, where he played jockey "Ronnie Jenkins."

Luck was canceled, while still in production, on March 14, 2012, after a third horse died during production.

His first mount back will be for trainer Jim Penney, who gives Stevens a leg up on the gelding Jebrica, who last raced on Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park—finishing seventh in an allowance-optional claiming race.

Stevens said he will continue his television work at both HRTV and NBC.


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