07/18/2014 7:17PM

Stevens's knee injury worse than initially thought

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Barbara D. Livingston
Gary Stevens' knee injury is more severe than originally thought. The 51-year-old jockey will undergo a full knee replacement next week.

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens said Friday he will need to undergo a full knee replacement next week after doctors informed him that the damage to his right knee is more severe than first believed, including a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Stevens, 51, made his comments on HRTV, the horse-racing network where on July 10 he first announced that he would stop riding immediately and undergo knee surgery.

“It’s been a great run, a great career, and if I don’t make it back, I can live with that,” Stevens said while being interviewed by Laffit Pincay III and Christina Blacker.

“My ACL was completely shot, which I didn’t even know. That was a big shock,” Stevens said. He said “there were some tears” when his doctor called with the news Friday.

“He said he’s never seen anybody do what [I’ve] been doing with no ACL,” Stevens said. “So, I apologize to anyone who happens to have lost money on me. I’ve been doing the best I could do for a while. It hasn’t been right for the last month and a half.”

Stevens said he was “looking forward to getting back in the saddle at some point or continuing on with my broadcasting career.”

Stevens was forced to quit riding twice previously, both times largely because of knee issues. He returned to riding this most-recent time in January 2013 and had great success over the past 18 months, including victories last year in the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Stevens has won more than 5,000 races in his career, including 4,988 in North America. He has spent portions of his career in France and Hong Kong and has won major international races such as the Dubai World Cup and the Japan Cup.

This year, Stevens has won 31 races from 145 mounts.

Stevens, a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby, was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. He won the Eclipse Award as champion jockey of 1998.

His broadcasting career has included work with HRTV and NBC.