From The Blood-Horse
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, a 10-time Breeders Cup winner, will be riding in this year’s event at Santa Anita Park, exactly 14 weeks to the day after undergoing total knee replacement surgery July 25.
Stevens, 51, will be aboard Sivoliere in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 31 for owner Martin Schwartz and trainer Chad Brown.
Stevens and Schwartz won the Beverly D. (gr. IT) at Arlington Park in 2004 aboard Angara. It was Gary’s first mount back at Arlington after his near career-ending fall there in the 2003 Arlington Million (gr. IT).
“I feel like we got the band back together. I couldn’t be more excited,” said Schwartz after speaking with Stevens about riding the race.
Stevens rode his last race in July for Brown before announcing he was taking time off to get his right knee replaced. In recent days, he had been back exercising horses at Santa Anita.
“It was something that I knew I would need to do eventually. I just put it off until I had to deal with it,” Stevens said. “I always hoped I would be able to ride in the Breeders Cup this year, but I knew that I wasn’t going to do it unless I was 110%. I’m so grateful to have owners and trainers that believe in me.”
Stevens won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) last year on Mucho Macho Man as well as the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) aboard Beholder. Neither horse is running in this year’s races.
“Nothing can top the Breeders’ Cup I had last year. But being able to go out there and ride at the highest level, for great people only three months after having a new knee put in, well it’s right up there,” Stevens said.
Stevens, who won an Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 1998, has 4,988 North American wins in his career. In addition to the Breeders’ Cup wins he also won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Oxbow in 2013, his comeback season following a five-year retirement due to his ailing knee.