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50 IS THE NEW 30

Posted by on 8/7/2013 7:33:40 PM

Geraldo Rivera recently tweeted that his age of 70 is the new 50 but he is not living the life like jockey Gary Stevens, who recently made a comeback to the racing world and is thriving at 50 like he was just a puppy.

Experienced online sports betting site players are well aware of Stevens’ work over the years but they should be mentioned and not forgotten since he was away from riding for 7 years. His breakout comeback moment was winning the Preakness this year with Oxbow.

Back in the day, I once had a female friend in Los Angeles that was one of the biggest race fans and the best women handicapper I ever knew.

She didn’t know a Beyer speed figure from the Sheets but she had savvy and knew people. After meeting Gary Stevens soon after he shifted his tack to California at the Cockatoo Inn, the establishment used in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, she told me Stevens would become one of the best riders ever.  

I was not buying. Stevens had a modest past, and even though his brother was a rider, and his father was a trainer, he had learned his skill riding quarter horses in the bushes. He did win with his first mount, but it was at Les Bois Park in Idaho, far from the Mecca of racing in this country.

What I didn’t know was that my friend knew as much about the intricacies of racing as she did about heart and she saw in Gary’s face the eye of the tiger.

The accomplishments of Stevens on the track are well documented. He won at least 15 riding titles, 8 Triple Crown races including 3 Kentucky Derbies, captured 8 Breeders’ Cup races, was best in the Santa Anita Derby 9 times, entered the Racing Hall of Fame in 1997 and a year later won the Eclipse Award as the best rider in the country.

His best and near perfect ride in his own words was the 1998 Belmont Stakes when Victory Gallop spoiled the Triple Crown bid of Real Quiet when Stevens timed his nose win to perfection.

When right, Stevens seldom makes a mental error and appears to have his horse in the right position just about every time. He can coax the speed from a speed horse as judiciously as Judge Rehnquist, was great stalking and then getting first jump on the deep closers. And he could come from left field because he let his horse relax and was patient enough to let the race unfold.

The feeling is Stevens will be a success no matter what field he follows and acting is an option.

On his role in the movie Seabiscuit, Stevens had this to say on his website: “I was very intimidated by the idea of acting to say the least. But what me feel more comfortable was that I was a fan of George Woolf. I had my 25th birthday party in his old apartment about the Derby Restaurant and I really felt like I knew the guy.”

He appears to be in a great position to continue his acting career with a pivotal part in the HBO series Luck, but the show was canceled thanks to some negative but wrong publicity from PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal.

For a man that had to spend over a year and a half in a leg brace as a young boy, Stevens learned to walk, then run to the winner’s circle.

Stevens has been judicious in the mounts he has accepted and it’s working like perfection. He has won with 9 of his first 26 mounts at Del Mar to be 5th in the standings although the leader has had 90 mounts. His 35% win slate is by far the best of the entire colony. For this great rider, the beat goes on.

And about that female friend in the early part of this column, I have not had an intimate interlude ever since that ended with a question like ‘who do you really think is going to win the 8th race tomorrow?’

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