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Stevens' Meet Jeopardized

July 30, 2002|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEL MAR — The future for Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens at the Del Mar meet is in question after he took off his mounts Monday and Wednesday and his agent said that he wouldn't be able to honor stakes commitments here and at Saratoga this weekend.

"Gary banged up one of his knees in the starting gate [last weekend]," Craig O'Bryan, Stevens' agent, said. "He's supposed to see the doctor Wednesday. But as far as anything else, I just don't know. I know he won't be riding anymore this week and he'll miss the mounts on Macho Uno and Investor's Dream this weekend."

Stevens, 39, was scheduled to ride Macho Uno in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday and was to be back at Del Mar on Sunday to ride Investor's Dream in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap.

Stevens' arthritic knees have caused him much pain for years. He underwent surgery to have a cyst removed from his right knee in 1999. He announced his retirement in December of that year, but returned to riding in October 2000.

Stevens rode only 74 times--winning five races--at the Hollywood Park meet that ended July 21. Since Del Mar opened last Wednesday, he has had a win.

Stevens was to have ridden two horses here Monday. One of them, Smart Lacy, was picked up by Kent Desormeaux, who rode the filly to victory in the third race. Pat Valenzuela replaced Stevens on Calista's Star in the seventh-race feature and finished third. Desormeaux won that race with Serene In Seattle.

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