Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens unretires, to ride again Sunday
Arcadia, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has confirmed that he will ride races once again, starting Jan. 6 aboard R and R Warren’s Jebrica Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
“I want to give it a go again,” Stevens announced on HRTV, the racing television network for which he has served as an analyst since 2008. “There’s been a lot of speculation, and I’m coming back on Sunday.”
Stevens, who will turn 50 on March 6, will hold Jebrica’s reins from post three in Race 6 of the Jan. 6 card, a $45,000 claiming event for 4-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf.
Jebrica, a 5-year-old Washington-bred Liberty Gold gelding, is trained by Jim Penney.
Stevens prepared for his comeback at the Pro Sports Club’s 20/20 lifestyles program in Bellevue, Washington.
“I haven’t felt this way since probably five years before I retired,” said the jockey, who retired in 2005 after suffering chronic knee pain. “What I’m doing in the gym every day and on horseback every day gives me a pretty good indication that I’m good for quite a while.”
Stevens said he will continue to work as analyst for HRTV and with NBC Sports while he rides races, but he plans to selectively pursue mounts. He added that he will select an agent to manage his book in the next couple of days.
“I didn’t come back to ride five days a week, nine races a day,” Stevens said. “I came back with the hope of helping develop good racehorses.”
Stevens was a three-time winner of both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and a two-time Preakness winner. He also has eight Breeders’ Cup scores among his 4,888 wins to date.
He began his career in 1979 at Les Bois Park and was a leading rider in Washington before moving to California and establishing his name on the South Cal circuit.
In 1993, Stevens became the youngest jockey to surpass $100 million in earnings. His career earnings rest at $221,212,704.
Despite his retirement from riding, Stevens has been an active member of the racing community, training horses, working as an agent and serving as analyst for TVG and NBC Sports as well as HRTV.