Stevens Gets Good News on Knee Injury; Still Opts Out of Royal Ascot

Stevens Gets Good News on Knee Injury; Still Opts Out of Royal Ascot
Photo: Mike Corrado
Jockey Gary Stevens, following his victory aboard Point Given in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Twenty-four hours after his triumphant ride on Point Given in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens had a scare when he suffered a strain to the same fragile knee that drove him into early retirement in December 1999. Fortunately, Stevens said on Monday, the injury isn't serious.

Stevens was aboard the maiden Pride of Cats in the post parade for Hollywood Park's eighth race on June 10 when the colt ducked sideways and put the jockey "in an uncomfortable position." Stevens quickly slid off the colt and took off his remaining rides for the day, including White Heart in the Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT).

After a thorough physical examination the following day, Stevens was relieved to learn the injury was nothing more than a strain. "It's good news," he said. "There were no torn tissues or anything, but the doctor wants me to stay off of it until the weekend." He took off his commitments for earlier in the week.

Stevens, who ended his retirement last fall and currently ranks fifth among North American jockeys by earnings, is scheduled to ride Love At Noon in the Princess Stakes (gr. II) June 16 and Until Sundown in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) June 17. On the night of the Affirmed, Stevens and wife Nikki had planned to fly to Europe for what he described as a "working vacation" that was to include a number of rides at Royal Ascot in England. He said the trip has been nixed, at least as far as riding is concerned.

"It's too risky," Stevens said. "With the horses I've got now, Point Given, and some good ones for Neil Drysdale, I don't think it's a good idea. The undulating ground and taking horses to the start by myself might be too much."

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