Gary Lynn Stevens
Gary Lynn Stevens is an American thoroughbred horse racing jockey, television personality and sports anchor who works for both HRTV and NBC Sports as a horse racing analyst.
Although forced to wear a hip brace for nineteen months due to a degenerative disease of the hip, Perthes syndrome, at age 7, 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 has been in the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes three times, and twice at the Preakness Stakes. 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. His mounts have collected over $221 million with 4,888 winners.
Gary Stevens won numerous awards and prizes in the horse racing industry including the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1996 that honors a rider whose career and personal conduct exemplifies the very best example of participants in the sport of thoroughbred racing. He had some acting ability and was chosen to play (1910-1946) in the 2003 movie Seabiscuit where he met his wife, Angie. In 1999, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award for "extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship".
In 1997, Stevens entered the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 1998, he was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the United States.
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."
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 in his final race as a jockey. A week after his favorite horse, Rock Hard Ten, called it quits due to a foot injury, the jockey of 27 years 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 10th, 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 will train horses with the assistance of his son, T.C. Stevens. Stevens' horses will be stabled at Santa Anita and shipped to various races throughout the country.
In Seabiscuit (film) he played jockey George Woolf.