Updated on 01/15/2013 10:57AM

Santa Anita: Stevens gets first win since returning from retirement

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Benoit & Associates
Gary Stevens wins the first race on Saturday aboard Branding - his first victory since November 2005.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens won for the first time in more than seven years in Saturday’s first race at Santa Anita, less than a week after he came out of retirement.

Stevens, 49, rode Branding ($13.20) to a win in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race for 3-year-old fillies. Branding was fifth entering the turn, and closed well to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

The victory was the first for Stevens since November 2005, the month he announced his retirement. He rode in an old-timers race in 2008, and resumed riding on a regular basis on Jan. 6.

Branding was originally Stevens’s only mount on Saturday’s nine-race program, but he picked up the ride on No Silent in the eighth race after Rafael Bejarano took off his mounts complaining of hand pain. No Silent finished sixth.

Discussing his ride on Branding, Stevens said, “The filly broke well. She settled into a nice rhythm.

"It was a sweet trip," he said. "It worked the way I wanted to.”

Through Saturday, Stevens has ridden four races. He is booked to ride four horses on Sunday’s program, including Tale of a Champion in the $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes on turf.

Branding, trained by Tom Proctor, was the 4,889th win of Stevens’s career. As he resumes riding, Stevens plans to continue his work as a television commentator on HRTV and NBC.

“The reception has been great,” Stevens said.

Darryle Mackelvey More than 1 year ago
Gary was the best photo finish rider of all time in so cal. Decade of the 90's
Matt More than 1 year ago
Garrett Gomez will out ride Gary in the lane everytime!!
Darryle Mackelvey More than 1 year ago
What? Its 8-6-2013 Gomez out ride G. Stevens? G. Stevens is an all class pro who by the way won some big time races this year out of retirement and has been in the hall of fame for years!! Were is Gomez pal!!!
Richard More than 1 year ago
Glad to see Gary back. That was a classic Stevens win! I started handicapping in 1997 when Gary had a fantastic year with Silver Charm for Bob Baffert. His ride in the 1998 Belmont Stakes beating Real Quiet by the tip of a nose has gone down in Belmont Stakes history as being perhaps the finest classic closers race for the Belmont Stakes. I’ll be keeping an eye open for Gary because believe me Gary Stevens is probably one of the greatest jockeys of modern times! Go get them Gary!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Mr. Stevens you look like you never left.Hope another DERBY is in the future plus much more.Stay safe.
Harv Harvey More than 1 year ago
holly bull make's a comeback ..congrats on GaryS win since 2005
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
I'M BACKKK!!!!!
Andre Nelson More than 1 year ago
Looking good Gary, Still one of the best ever, riding as cool as a cucumber....
Barry Mitchell More than 1 year ago
Congrads Gary. Put this on your wall of fame.
pathagan More than 1 year ago
More bad reporting by Andersen. Gary Stevens had TWO mounts on Saturday - he rode No Silent in the 8th.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Read the article again knucklehead!
Tom Watkins More than 1 year ago
try reading the article again, he originally had 1 mount then bejarano took off of No Silent,
Mario Vargas More than 1 year ago
Great way to start the year Stevens! You are now a wanted man. K.Y. Derby fever?