INGLEWOOD, Calif. (January 3, 2013)—Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will ride for the first time in more than seven years Sunday when he scales Jebrica in the sixth race at Santa Anita.
The $50,000 claimer for older horses at one mile on turf is part of a nine race card that is headlined by the $150,000 Monrovia, a Grade II for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 10:15 a.m. for simulcasts.
Seventh on the all-time list at Betfair Hollywood Park with 1,274 victories, Stevens, who will turn 50 March 6, announced his return Thursday morning after spending the previous two months getting fit and working horses.
Sixth all time at Betfair Hollywood Park with 155 stakes wins, Stevens said he would continue to honor his television commitments with HRTV and NBC despite his return to the saddle.
“We’ll see how it plays out,’’ he told the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen. “I’m not looking to ride seven a day. I’m not looking to be leading rider. I’m looking to ride good horses with good futures. My plan is to help advance their careers.’’
Stevens, who has won eight Breeders’ Cup races and a like number of Triple Crown events, said he is looking forward to his return. “I don’t know how this will turn out,’’ he told Andersen, “but I’m excited about Sunday.’’
A 5-year-old gelded son of Liberty Gold trained by Jim Penney, Jebrica will be making only his second start on grass Sunday. The Washington bred finished last in an optional claimer Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park. Jebrica’s last victory – the fifth of his 17-race career – came at 6 ½ furlongs in an optional claimer at Emerald Downs last July 28.
In the Monrovia, Kindle and Broken Dreams, the 1-2 finishers in the Cool Air Stakes Nov. 23 at Betfair Hollywood Park, will try to upset Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Mizdirection.
Owned by a partnership and trained by Gary Mandella, Kindle led throughout in the Cool Air, prevailing by 2 ¾ lengths as the 17-10 choice. The win was the fourth in eight attempts for the 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare and pushed her earnings to $143,370.
Trained by Mike Puype for a partnership that includes sports television and radio star Jim Rome, Mizdirection has been idle since she won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by a half-length Nov. 3.
The 5-year-old gray daughter of Mizzen Mast, who is perfect in three races over the Santa Anita turf at the Monrovia distance, has won seven of 12 and banked $914,621.
From inside out, the field for the Monrovia Stakes: Curvy Cat, Corey Nakatani rides, 118 pounds; Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Kindle, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Givine, Tyler Baze, 118; Broken Dreams, Garrett Gomez, 118 and Mizdirection, Mike Smith, 123.
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