Stevens getting back in the saddle

Updated: Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 21:09

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens is to return to the saddle following retirement at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Stevens, who will turn 50 in March, last rode in November 2005 and has worked successfully since as an analyst on American television, which he plans to continue, and starred in the film Seabiscuit and the short-lived TV series Luck.

Born in Idaho, in 26 years of riding Stevens amassed more than $221million in prize money and his major victories include three runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes twice, three Belmont Stakes, eight Breeders' Cup wins, and a record nine wins in the Santa Anita Derby. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

He rode in England for Michael Stoute in 1999, when he also won the Juddmonte International on Royal Anthem for Henry Cecil, and had a spell in France with Andre Fabre.

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Stevens told HRTV: "There's been a lot of speculation, people have seen me out there working horses in the morning, and I'm coming back on Sunday.

"I've worked some exciting horses over the past couple of weeks, and a couple that in particular that made hairs stand up on the back of my neck that I haven't felt in a long time.

"I've been getting healthy and fit and I haven't felt like this since five years before I quit riding, body-wise and mental-wise, and I want to give it a go again."

Among the horses he had worked Stevens pinpointed the former Richard Hannon-trained Strong Suit as the one that had excited him the most. Owned by Qatar Racing, the five-year-old is now based in California with Simon Callaghan.

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