ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2016) -- Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will undergo hip replacement surgery next week, the legendary rider announced Dec. 13, and is unsure when or if he will return to the saddle for yet another comeback.
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 MRIs and x-rays Monday, he realized that was not possible.
Stevens will remain with Ruis Racing as an advisor and assistant during this time.
"All I can do is have it done and hope for the best," Stevens said of his impending surgery. "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."
The 53-year-old Stevens has mastered the art of the improbable comeback multiple times.
In 2013, Stevens ended a seven-year retirement in spectacular fashion, guiding Oxbow to victory in that year's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and pulling off a sweep of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Beholder and Mucho Macho Man .
Plagued by knee issues throughout his career, Stevens underwent a successful knee replacement in the summer of 2014. He returned to the saddle to win the 2015 TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) and the Breeders Cup Distaff this November on Beholder. When the champion mare retired following that stirring victory, many suspected Stevens would as well.
"I wasn't ready to hang it up and I still don't know if I'm ready," Stevens said. "I'm going to have the procedure done next week and I'll play it by ear. 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, who was inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in 1997, has won nine Triple Crown races—including three editions of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)—and 11 Breeders' Cup contests. He has 5,083 wins for his career through Dec. 11 with career earnings of $251,050,402.