Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens has dropped Corey Black as his agent and hired Bob Meldahl to handle his book. The change took place Monday afternoon.

"I've known Gary for a long time," Meldahl said Tuesday morning from Arcadia, Calif. "I wasn't hustling him. He called me. It was a very cut-and-dried thing. When a jock's ready to make a change, he's ready to make a change."

Stevens, 37, retired from riding after the opening day of the 1999 Santa Anita meeting, but returned after a nine-month layoff in October of 2000. An exclamation point to his return was his ride aboard War Chant in winning last year's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).

Stevens was elected into racing's Hall of Fame in 1997. He has ridden three Kentucky Derby winners: Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), and Silver Charm (1997). He currently has the mount on this year's Derby winter-book favorite, Point Given, who figures to be odds-on in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

Meldahl previously held the book for Corey Nakatani, an association that has lasted 11 year. Nakatani has decided to ride this spring at Keeneland in Kentucky with Ronnie Ebanks handling his assignments. Keeneland's spring meet begins Friday.

Meldahl is also agent for another Hall of Fame rider, Laffit Pincay Jr.

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