Stable Notes By Ed Golden
In what will surely be an intensely emotional moment, veteran jockey Scott Stevens will be presented with the 2019 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony following today’s sixth race at Santa Anita.
A winner of more than 4,800 races in a career that has spanned 43 years, Stevens will be joined by family, friends and colleagues, including the 1996 Woolf Award winner, retired Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, as the pair thus become the first brotherly tandem to win the prestigious award in its 70-year history.
The winner via a vote of jockeys nationwide, Stevens placed first among a list of five finalists that included Joe Bravo, Kerwin Clark, John Davila, Jr. and Julien Leparoux.
“I know I was there when Gary won, but honestly, it’s been so long ago, I don’t remember,” said Stevens. “This award is so special and I was honored just to be nominated. When you think about all the great riders and the great people that have won it and to be selected by a vote of your peers . . . It’s really more than I can describe.”
Born Oct. 6, 1960 in Caldwell, Idaho, Stevens is the son of a former trainer, Ron, and rodeo queen, Barbara. Steeped in the ways of the horse-world from infancy, Stevens, who has more than 32,400 career mounts, broke his maiden on May 30, 1976 at Les Bois Park in Boise, at the age of 15.
A member of both the Idaho and Canterbury Park (MN) Halls of Fame, Stevens has been a helpful, guiding influence to scores of young jockeys for decades.
A nine-time leading rider at Turf Paradise, Stevens, who resides in Phoenix with his longtime partner Pam Isles, has two grown children, a daughter Jessica and a son, Jake, as well as five grandchildren, four of whom will join him today.
Named for the legendary Hall of Fame jockey George Woolf, who died at age 35 following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946, the Woolf Award can only be won once, and it is intended to recognize riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.