Jockey Scott Stevens is pretty much a legend when it comes to racing at Turf Paradise, my home track in Phoenix. As of December 5, Equibase.com lists Stevens as having ridden 28,366 mounts in his career, winning with 4,032 of them and earning purse money of $31,576,380 in a riding career that started in 1976. For those of you mathematically-challenged, that is 35 years ago.
I had the distinct honor of announcing Scott's 4,000th career victory aboard Summer Nights on March 18 of this year and there is a link to watch that race, along with an interview with Scott here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eRkpretqbY. In my brief time at Turf Paradise, I have seen Scott Stevens be more than just a member of the jockey colony. I have seen him help out in other capacities around the racetrack and do an excellent job with whatever he has tried to tackle. Like any other jockey, Scott has had to deal with his great successes and still overcome his share of hardships. Of course, Scott is the brother of Gary Stevens, who was known to ride a horse or two in his time as well. Gary Stevens won the George Woolf Memorial Award in 1996 and had the opportunity to play the Iceman himself in the film, "Seabiscuit".
Scott Stevens is among the finalists for the 2012 George Woolf Memorial Award. The Woolf Award has been presented by Santa Anita annually since 1950 and it recognizes the ability of a rider not only on-track, but what he does off-track as well for the benefit of the sport. Stevens will be facing a very tough field of four other finalists for the Woolf Award this year. The other nominees are Ramon Dominguez, Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, and DeShawn Parker. It certainly is pretty heady company for all of these riders to be involved with. Of course, They Are Off offers sincere congratulations to all of the nominees and wishes good luck to all. Hopefully, everyone will pardon me if I say I am still going to root for the hometown hero, Scott Stevens. The winner of the George Woolf Memorial Award will be announced in January.
Tune in again on Thursday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!