Santa Anita News
GARY STEVENS' COMEBACK RACE QUOTES
GARY STEVENS, JEBRICA, THIRD: “You can prepare all you want – like preparing a horse for a race in the morning. There’s nothing like a race itself. It feels good to get the cobwebs out, and I feel good. I’m proud of the people who have helped me get to this point, and I want to make them proud moving forward.”
(What did it feel like after seven years?)
“It felt really good. I rode long enough to know that turning into the backside, I was going to be loaded coming into the stretch. I was looking over at Julien (Leparoux on Jimmy Simms), and he was just to my outside and had some horse. I knew I was going to be able to float out coming into the lane. Tyler’s horse floated out just a tad coming out off the turn. It was a perfect trip, and like I said, it felt really good. I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be a storybook comeback.’ It wasn’t meant to be, but it was close enough. That’s the first time I’ve knuckled down on one in seven years, and it felt good.”
(Seeing races differently as a TV analyst?)
“You have to be on top of it and watching 12 horses. When you’re out there like I just was just now, you’re aware of every other horse in the race and what their form was, and I rode accordingly. I guess you put a bit more into it studying analytically for television. At the end of the day, when you’re on their back, you know that you have to have an open mind and be able to adapt.
“I’ve got to go shower, and I’ve got to get into the booth. I want to make the Monrovia (Stakes, eighth and feature race).”
AARON GRYDER, MAYBE TUESDAY, WINNER: “I’m seven years fitter than he is. It was a good setup. We turned for home and I wasn’t sure I was going to run down Gary and I said, ‘What a story book this would be and what a script. It looked like it was almost written.’
“My horse is a game horse and just kept on trying. He was just able to out-foot them the last sixteenth of a mile. Gary looked good and it was fun to have him back in the jocks’ room.”
BRYSON COOPER, JEBRICA, THIRD: “It was exciting not just for us, but also for Washington and the whole racing industry. We’re really happy with the effort – if Gary could’ve finished on a horse, he might have won. (laughing) He ran very good. We’re very pleased with him.” (Cooper is assistant to trainer Jim Penney).
MIKE MITCHELL, MAYBE TUESDAY, WINNER: “I told Gary before the race in the paddock, I said, ‘I know you and I know how professional you are and that if you’re feeling good, you’ll ride and if you’re not, I know you wouldn’t do this. You gotta be feeling good.’
“He’s a great rider and a smart rider, but I thought my horse would run good . . . It was a good horse race.”