Through Wednesday, Gary Stevens had 10 mounts at Keeneland, a track he hadn’t ridden since October 2005, the year he retired. He's back in the spotlight in Saturday's Grade III Coolmore Lexington Stakes.
His retirement officially ended on Jan. 6, when Stevens returned to competition at Santa Anita. He scored his first win six days later. On Feb. 10, Stevens rode Slim Shadey to win the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.
On Friday, Stevens will ride Artemus Kitten in the Grade III Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes. On Saturday, he will be aboard Sunbean in the Lexington for the Louisiana-bred's new trainer, Mike Maker. Maker also trains Artemus Kitten.
It won't be Stevens' first rodeo here. He won the 1997 Lexington, then a grade II race, aboard Touch Gold. Sunbean is seen as having a big shot in this year's edition with a 4-1 morning line.
“I’ve been back for four months now, and it feels like I was never away,” the jockey said Thursday.
Stevens is 50. He first rode at Keeneland in 1986 and had 24 wins in 130 starts at the track through 2005. The first of his eight Keeneland stakes wins came in 1988 when he rode Wonders Delight to win the Grade II Alcibiades. Others include the 1998 (then Grade II) Toyota Blue Grass Stakes aboard Halory Hunter. Stevens’ final stakes win at the track came on Oct. 21, 2005, when he rode Asi Siempre in the Grade III Valley View Stakes.
Edited Keeneland release