Stevens Ponders Television Series Role

Stevens Ponders Television Series Role
Photo: Associated Press
Retired jockey Gary Stevens in line for television role.
By Claire Novak
Less than two months after his Nov. 26 retirement from racing, former jockey Gary Stevens is considering an invitation to guest star in the ABC original family series Wildfire.

According to Stevens' manager, Kelly Weitsma, the Hall of Fame rider reviewed several episodes of the show on Jan. 6 and is waiting to review scripts before committing to the project.

"We're looking at an offer for a reccurring guest starring role," said Weitsma, "Although it's not a done deal, there's every indication Gary will be signing the contract."

Stevens would begin filming on location in Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 12 for the series that airs Mondays at 8 p.m.

"We're really excited because Gary has a busy schedule and some great prospects ahead of him," Weitsma said, mentioning a car commercial in Louisville and a pending deal with NBC. "He'll be covering the Sunshine Millions with NBC on Jan. 28, and it's going to be a great year. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with NBC."

"It's a new phase of my life that's getting off the ground," 43-year-old Stevens said from his winter home in California. "I expect it to be just as fulfilling as my riding career, and I certainly have every reason to believe that the hard work we're putting in will be well worth it."

Stevens will also launch his new career as a race analyst for TVG from the network's Los Angeles location this month. Providing analysis of the Fair Grounds' Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) on Jan. 14, Stevens is scheduled to join TVG hosts Ken Rudolph and Frank Lyons in the studio.

"It'll be great to comment on the Risen Star, which is a stepping stone on the path to the Triple Crown," said Stevens, who won the 2005 running of the race with Virginia Kraft Payson's homebred Scipion. "I'm really looking forward to my first day with TVG."

Stevens will be in-studio with the TVG team on Jan. 21 and 22 as well, and will cover the Eclipse Awards live from California on Jan. 23.

Stevens says his schedule proves that – while he's retired from race riding – he's definitely not retired from the racing industry. "We've been very busy, very active in various aspects of racing since I stopped riding," he said. "I've been going out to Santa Anita every morning while I've been in California, and I've really enjoyed seeing old friends and staying involved. It's a pretty hectic schedule, but it's great."

Stevens gained national acclaim for his first acting role, the portrayal of legendary jockey George Woolf in the 2003 box office hit Seabiscuit. He hung up his tack in 2005 with 5,005 career victories and more than $220 million in purse earnings.

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