Gary L. Stevens
Gary Lynn Stevens (born March 6, 1963 in Caldwell, Idaho) is an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey, actor, television personality and sports analyst who works for both HRTV and NBC Sports as a horse racing analyst.
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.
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 USA and over 5000 wins when including overseas victories. 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
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
In 2002, Gary wrote a book about his life called The Perfect Ride. 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."
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.”
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. 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. On November 1st & 2nd 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.
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Jerry D. Bailey
|Jockeys' Guild President
- Gary Stevens finished second in last race - Pravda.Ru
- Governor James E. Risch - The State of Idaho Proclamation Gary Stevens Week
- 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.
- http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/1878, July 21, 2003, retrieved April 6, 2010
- http://www.horseraceinsider.com/Press-Release/article/monster-horse-big-brown-seeking-first-triple-crown-in-30-years/. retrieved 5/16/2001.
- Andersen, Steve (2013-01-03). "Gary Stevens returns to the saddle Sunday at Santa Anita". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- Stevens, Gary with Kaufman, Mervyn, Shoemaker, Bill (foreword) The Perfect Ride (2002) Citadel ISBN 0-8065-2361-1
- Del Mar Media Guide
- Gary Stevens official website
- Profile at National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- NTRA bio
- Gary Stevens at the Internet Movie Database