Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, a two-time Sovereign Award winner in her native Canada, take America's Best Racing's readers inside the jockeys' room in 2014. Stevens and Sutherland-Kruse will provide answers to all sorts of questions such as how jockeys get paid, what goes on between races, whom they admire and what type of music and fashion style they favor.
In this edition of Inside the Jockeys' Room we learn a little more about Stevens, whose comeback in 2013 was arguably the biggest story in horse racing and featured wins in the Preakness Stakes with Oxbow and Breeders' Cup Classic with Mucho Macho Man. Stevens rides Mucho Macho Man on Saturday in the Santa Anita Handicap, which will be televised on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET.
Can you explain the role of a jockey agent, how it is determined which mounts you get and how far in advance are they typically planned out?
STEVENS: A jockey agent books your mounts. He is in charge of picking which horses a jockey rides in which races. Sometimes a horse’s races are planned out for the year. Other times, a trainer is looking in a condition book trying to find a race. So it just depends on the horse and the trainer on how far out it is planned. Races enter a few days before, so you usually know about three days out what you are actually riding.
What’s the best horse you’ve ever ridden and what made him/her special?
STEVENS: There are too many good ones to pick just one.
What’s the one horse you didn’t ride but wish you had the opportunity to have ridden?
If you could compete in any Olympic Sport, what would be your sport?
STEVENS: Skiing - downhill racing.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
STEVENS: I don't feel there is an answer because there is no such thing. Winning some of the races I've won is pretty darn close.
What are you reading now (book, magazine, etc.)? Would you recommend it?
STEVENS: “American Assassin” by Vince Flynn. I highly recommend it.
EPIC REMATCH IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Name five things you cannot live without:
STEVENS: I am pretty simple and feel that I could live without anything. I would say my family, or food, or my car or my phone ... but I've lived without all of these things at times.
What is your dream vacation?
STEVENS: My dream vacation would be to travel forever and not have a schedule or to ever have to go home.
What are your five all-time favorite movies?
STEVENS: “Seabiscuit,” “Casey's Shadow,” “Phar Lap,” “The Man From Snowy River,” “True Grit.”
What website do you visit first in the morning upon turning on your computer, phone, other device?
If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
STEVENS: Buy a bunch of yearlings. (My wife just glared at me and said “Really?”) I would!
STEVENS: THE COMEBACK KID