As if Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens needed more of a reason to stake his claim as one of the greatest of all time, he rode Oxbow to a thrilling victory at the 2013 Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
This only further proved the fact that the 50-year-old is not only one of the best the sport has ever seen, but defies aging completely after coming back from retirement after going "over the hill."
Stevens hadn't raced in eight years before the start of 2013. He came back as a 50-year-old and won the race at Pimlico.
You can't make up stuff like that.
Although Orb went into the morning line at the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" with 3-5 odds, he got stuck on the inside rail coming off the No. 1 post.
At that point, it was a straight duel between Stevens and Goldencents with Kevin Krigger to see who could jump out at the first lead of the big race.
It took about one second.
Oxbow shot out past the field and it was a lead he would never relinquish, completing the insane start-to-finish victory that the sport rarely ever sees.
Is Gary Stevens the best jockey of all time?
Just as important as pedigree and training to horse racing is the performance of jockeys. In the end, they're controlling these thoroughbreds and maneuvering them on the race track.
Judging the pedigree over the jockey is like judging NASCAR strictly off the cars instead of the driver. If you think about it in that regard, actually, maybe it's the jockeys who we should hail first for winning.
If that's the case, Stevens would be one of the first names to come up. Saturday's win at Pimlico means the 50-year-old has now won each of the Triple Crown races three times (h/t ESPN on Twitter), completing a trifecta that is almost entirely unmatched.
3 wins in the Derby, 3 wins at Belmont, and now 3 wins in the #Preakness for jockey Gary Stevens. What a wire-to-wire win for Oxbow!— ESPN (@espn) May 18, 2013
He even pulled the impossible in his career, coming back from retirement at age 50 to compete on the highest stage against younger, more physically able jockeys.
Obviously experience is held to a very high degree in this sport and for the excellence of its jockeys. Gary Stevens proved that much Saturday at Pimlico.
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