Hamilton Returns to Saddle After Year Hiatus

Six and a half months after retiring for the second time, jockey Steve "Cowboy" Hamilton will return to the saddle beginning Oct. 6 at Laurel Park when he rides Roy E. Munson in the third race, a $30,000 maiden for 2-year-olds.

Hamilton, who turns 33 next Wednesday, has not ridden since the 2005 Maryland Million Day on Oct. 15.

"I had a break and I'm ready to go again," said Hamilton, who has 1,199 career winners for $22.7 million. "I'm still young and have some good years left. Last year I just had enough for a little while but now I'm ready to get back at it. About a month and a half ago I started to watch what I was eating and started getting lighter."

A top five rider in Maryland five times during the 1990's, Hamilton was out of racing in 2001, 2002 and 2003 while working on the oil fields in his native Oklahoma. He returned in January 2004, winning the Pimlico spring riding title that year. Less than 18 months later he was aboard Malibu Moonshine in Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

During the one-year hiatus, Hamilton has been employed at the Maryland tracks as a valet and jocks room manager. He continued to gallop horses at Laurel Park in the morning for trainer Scott Lake, who conditions Roy E. Munson, a first-time starter.

Hamilton rode Mz. Zill Bear to three stakes victories in 1995, including the Maryland Million Ladies and was the regular rider for turf star John's Call and Thomas Jo, who won the Tesio Stakes and Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico in 1998.

Ben Feliciano Sr. will handle booking mounts for the rider.