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Stevens Expected to Miss at Least One Month

Jockey could be released from the hospital today after racing mishap.

August 19, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

Jockey Gary Stevens, still hospitalized from injuries suffered when his wayward horse fouled other horses while winning Saturday's Arlington Million in suburban Chicago, will be sidelined for a month, his theatrical agent, Eddie Goldstone, said Monday.

Stevens, who was unseated while trying to control the veering Storming Home just past the finish line, could be released from the hospital today. The 40-year-old Hall of Fame jockey, who in his first acting part has a featured role as the legendary jockey George Woolf in the current movie "Seabiscuit," suffered a collapsed lung in the spill, and X-rays also showed that he had a broken vertebra in his upper back. Stevens told a friend that he suffered no nerve damage.

Using a tube, doctors re-inflated Stevens' lung, in a procedure that the oft-injured rider described as the most painful he has experienced. Stevens had considerable trouble breathing immediately after Storming Home won the Million, only to be disqualified to fourth place after interfering with two other horses.

"I don't know what a heart attack feels like, but I think I'm having one," Stevens reportedly told medics.

After falling, Stevens was struck by one and perhaps two trailing horses. Sulamani, who finished second, was moved up to first place after Storming Home's disqualification. Storming Home galloped off after the spill and was not injured.

Stevens had been scheduled to ride Candy Ride, an undefeated Argentine-bred, in another $1-million race, the Pacific Classic, at Del Mar on Sunday. Neither Ron McAnally, who trains Candy Ride, nor Sid Craig, who owns the horse, could be reached to see if they had named a replacement. Candy Ride is expected to be the second choice, behind Medaglia d'Oro, in the Classic.

Although Stevens was whipping Storming Home right-handed in the stretch at Arlington Park, the horse persisted in bearing out to the right for several lanes just as the field neared the finish. At Hollywood Park, Stevens had ridden Storming Home without incident in both of his two previous U.S. starts, winning both races, but Stevens noted that during a gallop on Friday at Arlington, the 5-year-old English-bred stopped at the finish line and refused to run any farther. That's close to the spot where Stevens' problems began in the race.

Stevens, interested in furthering an acting career, said before the Million that he would wait until after Breeders' Cup day, at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, before evaluating his future. There is a chance of a rematch between Storming Home and Sulamani in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Turf, and Stevens said that he would like to have the chance to ride Storming Home again.

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