Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will undergo hip replacement surgery next week and will be sidelined indefinitely, the jockey said via press release.
Stevens had signed on to be first-call rider for Ruis Racing before his hip gave out. He was trying to ride through the spring meet at Santa Anita Park but after a thorough medical examination on Dec. 12, he realized that was not possible.
Stevens will remain on with Ruis Racing as an adviser and assistant during this time. Stevens, who underwent a successful knee replacement in summer 2014, has not decided if he plans to return to the saddle after the surgery.
Following the knee replacement, Stevens returned to win the 2015 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes and the 2016 Longines Breeders Cup Distaff on Beholder. After Beholder retired, many suspected Stevens would as well.
“I wasn’t ready to hang it up, and I still don’t know if I’m ready. I’m going to have the procedure done next week and I’ll play it by ear,” Stevens said. “I’m in a great position with Ruis Racing and I don’t want to lose that. Luckily, I can continue on as part of the team and see what happens in a few months.”
Stevens will have his hip replaced by the same group that successfully replaced his knee.
“Look,” Stevens said, “all I can do is have it done and hope for the best. I hope I’m in a position in a few months where I can make the choice if I want to go back to riding or not. In the meantime, I am going to continue to help Ruis Racing develop their stock and see where it takes us.”
Stevens came out of a seven-year retirement in 2013 and has won 80 stakes races, including 56 group or graded stakes, since the comeback. In addition to the Pacific Classic and Distaff wins aboard Beholder, Stevens won the 2013 Preakness Stakes with Oxbow as well as the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Mucho Macho Man and the Distaff that year with Beholder. The 1997 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame has amassed 5,083 career victories, including nine in Triple Crown races and 11 in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.