10/15/2008 11:00PM

Stevens psyched for Hall of Fame riders race


ARCADIA, Calif. - A wave of nostalgia swept over retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens when he saw Saturday's overnight at Santa Anita.

For the first time since 2005, Stevens found his name listed among the entries. He is one of eight retired jockeys participating in the Living Legends race, a parimutuel race that is the fourth race on Santa Anita's 10-race program.

Stevens will be ride against fellow Hall of Famers Jerry Bailey, Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, Sandy Hawley, Julie Krone, Chris McCarron, and Jacinto Vasquez in an optional claimer over seven furlongs.

"Looking at the overnight was kind of neat," he said. "I was talking to [trainer] Neil Drysdale, and I said, 'Did you ever think you'd see a lineup like this again?'"

Track officials hope the event will draw interest to an otherwise quiet Saturday program a week before the Breeders' Cup, especially from long-time racing fans.

Stevens retired in November 2005 from a career that included three wins in the Kentucky Derby and nine in the Santa Anita Derby. Stevens, 45, won 4,888 races in his career, which began in Idaho in 1979.

For Saturday's race, mounts were drawn randomly. The California Horse Racing Board granted approval for the event to have pari-mutuel betting.

Stevens rides Scandalous, a 4-year-old colt with 1 win in 10 starts. The Living Legends race is a first-condition allowance race or $32,000 claimer for California-breds. There are four horses on the also-eligible list in the event that a horse in the main portion of the field is withdrawn.

Bailey has the mount on the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Dee Dee's Legacy. A 3-year-old colt, Dee Dee's Legacy has drawn the rail. Trained by Darrell Vienna, Dee Dee's Legacy has not started since finishing second in an allowance race for state-breds in February. He was fifth in the Sunshine Million Dash in January.

Stevens considers the Living Legends race to be a "one-time event." He has been working horses frequently in Southern California to prepare, and is not alone in that regard.

Cordero rides workouts for trainer Todd Pletcher. During the summer, Krone worked horses for trainer Richard Mandella at Del Mar.

Stevens admits that he has had to shed 15 pounds in recent months to reach the 126-pound riding weight for Saturday's race.

"I've prepared as much as possible without riding [races]," he said. "I hope I look good and can finish strong and ride my race like I would for a typical race."

Niagara Causeway retired

Niagara Causeway, the winner of the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap here in March, has been retired and will be sent to stud in 2009, trainer Leonard Powell said. Earlier this year, Powell was hoping Niagara Causeway would start in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon on Oct. 25.

"We tried to bring him back for a fall campaign," Powell said. "He wasn't going to be a 100 percent."

Powell said that no stud plans have been finalized. Owned by La Bahia Stud, Niagara Causeway won 4 of 20 starts and $255,567.

Nakatani plans November return

Jockey Corey Nakatani, who has not ridden since suffering a collarbone injury on Sept. 24, is planning a return to riding in early November, according to his agent, Ron Ebanks.

Nakatani will not be able to ride the Breeders' Cup programs on Oct. 24-25. When he was sidelined, Nakatani hoped to make it back for those races. Instead, Ebanks said that Nakatani is targeting "the first or second week of November" during the Hollywood Park fall meeting.

Earl Mitchell dead at 82

Earl Mitchell, a former trainer and the father of top Southern California trainer Mike Mitchell, died on Wednesday night in Phoenix, according to a statement released by Santa Anita.

Earl Mitchell was 82. According to Mike Mitchell, Earl Mitchell trained in Southern California for 40 years. His stable included Fast Fellow, a multiple stakes winner who won the 1970 Hollywood Juvenile for the Gem State Stable of Thelma Morrison.

Funeral arrangements are pending, but a service will be held in Tipton, Calif., Earl Mitchell's hometown.