Gary Stevens, a Hall of Fame Jockey, called into The Norris and Davis Show to talk about a possible Triple Crown in horse racing, and the recent troubles of fellow jockey Kent Desormeaux.
In 1997, the now retired Stevens, had a chance to win the Triple Crown aboard his mount Silver Charm, but was beaten by a nose by Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes. He said he never really got over that loss.
“A hundred yards from the finish line I thought we were bringing home the Triple Crown. To have the carpets ripped up from under you two or three strides from the finish when Chris McCarron on Touch of Gold came and nailed us in that last 50 yards, so it went from the ultimate high to the ultimate disappointment,” he said.
However, Stevens said he has more confidence in I’ll Have Another than he ever did in Silver Charm.
“He’s a jockey’s dream. He’s push button. You can move when you want to move. You can put him to sleep when you need to put him to sleep and that’s so important to be able to switch a horse on and off during a long race because it can fill their lungs faster with oxygen and it could keep him relaxed,” he said.
Stevens also said that it has become more difficult to win a Triple Crown over the years because horses are now trained specifcally for each race, and the fields are more competitive.
“If you look back at your previous Triple Crown winners they were not full fields, they were smaller fields. The Preakness used to be worth $150,000 and the Belmont Stakes $150,000, so it wasn’t a race that people were specifically targeting as a specialist type of race. I think that’s what happens now: people will really prepare for that one specific race,” he said.
Stevens also talked about the tough time fellow jockey, Kent Desormeaux is currently going through.
“He;s going through his personal issues over the past two years with the split up from his wife, and re-located back to the East Coast. I think he’s just a bit lost right now,” he said.
Over his career Gary Stevens won eight different Triple Crown Races: The Kentucky Derby twice, The Preakness twice, and the Belmont Stakes three times.