Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens' damaged right knee is worse than originally thought and will require complete replacement, complicating his plans for a later comeback.
In an exclusive interview with HRTV's Laffit Pincay III and Christina Blacker July 18, Stevens said a magnetic resonance imaging test showed that his ACL is completely torn. After originally hoping to get a partial knee replacement, he is now slated for full replacement surgery July 25.
"I went in for an MRI yesterday, and Dr. (Andrew) Yun just called me and said that there was way too much internal damage to the knee to do a partial replacement," Stevens said. "So, we are scheduled to do a full replacement next Friday."
Stevens, 51, said the possibility exists that he will not be able to resume competitive riding.
"It's been a great run, a great career, and if I don't make it back, I can live with that," Stevens said. "But I'm going to bust my butt to do it...my ACL was completely shot, which I didn't even know. That was a big shock. I'll just say it. There was some tears when he called me.
"(Yun) said he's never seen anybody do what (I've) been doing with no ACL," Stevens added. "So, I apologize to anyone who happens to have lost some money on me. I've been doing the best I could do for awhile. It hasn't been right for the last month-and-a-half…that's where we're at. I'm looking forward to either getting back in the saddle at some point, or continuing on with my broadcasting career."
Stevens, who has ridden 4,988 winners, ranks ninth all-time on the North American earnings' list with $236,951,490. He resumed his career in January 2013 after retiring in 2005. Included in his comeback victories were the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Mucho Macho Man , Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) aboard Beholder, and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Oxbow .
During his break, Stevens served as a racing analyst for HRTV and NBC, and was among the actors on the HBO series "Luck."
The full interview is available via www.HRTV.com.