Stevens was born March 6, 1963 in Caldwell, Idaho into a
family of horse people. He came to racing naturally, his
father, Ron, is a trainer and had him grooming horses at
age 8. His mother was a Rodeo Queen. His brother Scott is a jockey. Before he was 14,
Gary was riding winners in quarter horse races at the bush
tracks and fairs
rode his first thoroughbred winner Lil Star for his dad - in his first start
- at 16 in 1979 at Les Bois Park in Idaho. Soon he became
the top jockey in Washington, winning riding titles at Longacres
in 1983-84. He moved his tack to Southern California where
after a rocky and homesick start, his career skyrocketed.
He won riding titles at Santa Anita four times (1986, 88,
90, 93), Hollywood summer twice (1986, 88): Del Mar twice
(1987-88), Oak Tree three times (1986-87, 97), and Hollywood
fall four times (1986, 88, 92, 94)
may have made his name out west but is a familiar face on
the Triple Crown circuit. His victories in the Kentucky
Derby began in 1988 aboard Winning Colors (PHOTO
RIGHT) which he credits as his most exciting
win, This was followed with victories by Thunder Gulch in
1995, and Silver Charm in 1997. Silver Charm came within a whisker of winning the triple crown.
1995, Gary won the first and last legs of the series with
Thunder Gulch, trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Thunder Gulch
finished third in the Preakness.
1998 Real Quiet won the Derby and the Preakness and looked
to have the Crown wrapped up when Kent Desormeaux had him
in front by five lengths in the stretch of the Belmont Stakes.
And then along came Gary. In one of the greatest rides in
history, Stevens and Victory Gallop caught Real Quiet by
a nose to win the mile-and-a-half Test of the Champion.
retired in December of 1999 with debilitating knee pain
, but not before he had ridden a colt named Anees to win
the Breeders' Cup Juvenile the month before. Knee problems
have plagued him. He underwent surgery Dec. 1, 1999 to have
a cyst removed from his right knee; returned Dec. 26 of
that year but announced his retirement that day, citing
chronic pain and wear-and-tear on his knees. Prior to that
knee surgery were operations in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Following
retirement, he became an assistant trainer for trainer Alex
Hassinger and the Thoroughbred Corp. but not riding was
dificult for him. He resumed riding Oct. 4, 2000.
was back in the Triple Crown limelight just a few months
later with Derby favorite Point Given, son of Thunder Gulch.
After suicidal early fractions, on a phony-fast racetrack,
the Bob Baffert-trainee finished fifth to Monarchos. But
it was Point Given, Baffert, Thoroughbred Corp. and Stevens
who reigned supreme at Pimlico and Belmont Park, winning
the Preakness, the Belmont. Gary feels that Point Given
deserved the Triple Crown that year and that Kentucky Derby
is perhaps the loss he regrets the most.
In 2003 Gary played the role of George Woolf in the acclaimed and Academy Award nominated movie SEABISCUIT. In the same year he was named one of People Magazines 50 Most Beautiful People.
Gary is married to Angie Athayde-Stevens whom he met of the set of Seabiscuit. He has four wonderful children from his first marriage: Ashley, TC, Riley and Carlie.
In 2005 Gary retired from racing and became a racing analyst for NBC and TVG. He now commentates for NBC and HRTV and acts as a racing analyst /consultant for IEAH Stables and Pegasus Thoroughbreds.
Has won eight Breeders' Cup races from 86 mounts: the 2000
Mile with War Chant, 1999 Juvenile with Anees and the 1998
Distaff on Escena and Juvenile Fillies on Silverbulletday,
1996 Mile on Da Hoss, 1994 Distaff on One Dreamer, 1993
Juvenile on Brocco and 1990 Turf on In the Wings (GB).
Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1997.
Received Eclipse Award as North America's outstanding jockey
Top victories in his surgery-interrupted 2002 season have
included: Del Mar Debutante Stakes (Miss Houdini), Santa
Maria Handicap (Favorite Funtime), Massachusetts Handicap
(Macho Uno), Peter Pan Stakes (Sunday Break [JPN]), La Canada
Stakes (Summer Colony), San Marcos Stakes (Irish Prize)
and Santa Ynez Stakes (Dancing [GB]).
Has won eight Triple Crown races: three Kentucky Derbies
— Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Silver
Charm (1997); two Preakness Stakes — Silver Charm
(1997), Point Given (2001); three Belmont Stakes —
Thunder Gulch (1994), Victory Gallop (1998), Point Given
Other $1 million or greater race victories exclusive of
Breeders' Cup and Triple Crown victories include the $2
million Dubai Golden Shaheen (Caller One, 2002), the Godolphin
Mile (Grey Memo, 2002), Arlington Million (Golden Pheasant,
1990, and Marlin, 1997); Canadian International (Singspiel,
1996, and Royal Anthem, 1998); Dubai World Cup (Silver Charm,
1998), Haskell Invitational Handicap (Point Given, 2001);
Hollywood Gold Cup (Gentlemen, 1997), Santa Anita Handicap
(Ruhlmann, 1990; Farma Way, 1991; Urgent Request, 1995).
Earned national money titles in 1990 and 1998 ... Ranked
among top 10 money winners from 1985-99 and in 2001.
9 Santa Anita Derby wins - a record.