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Stevens finishes third on comeback ride

USA: Seven years after his previous ride, Gary Stevens finished third, beaten a neck and a nose, at Santa Anita on Sunday when he made his shock comeback to race-riding.

Gary Stevens 04

Gary Stevens: seven-year absence

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Stevens, 49, led into the stretch on the four-year-old Jebrica in a $50,000 claimer on turf in Sunday's sixth race, which was won by Maybe Tuesday.

"It was a perfect trip," he said. "I thought there would be a storybook comeback, but it wasn't meant to be."

The Hall of Fame rider, who rode as stable jockey to Sir Michael Stoute for a period in 1999 before joining Andre Fabre's stable for a spell, has partnered a total of 4,888 winners.

Among them are three Kentucky Derby victories and eight Breeders' Cup successes, while his European highlight was a Juddmonte International win on Royal Anthem for Henry Cecil in 1999.

Stevens, who last rode in November 2005, has been employed as an analyst for HRTV and NBC in recent years. He has also taken acting roles in the movie Seabiscuit, as jockey George Woolf, and the TV series Luck.

Although he does not plan to ride on a daily basis, Stevens is keen to pick up mounts on better-quality cards.

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