Injury Ends Stevens Season Early


The Minnesota Derby was over and Scott Stevens turned his mount to gallop back. Bet Your Socks, the three-year-old gelding he had ridden, took about three strides and stumbled.

Stevens got the horse back on his feet but he stumbled again, this time sending the rider to the ground.

“I don’t know. I guess I used my hand to break my fall. That’s what probably happened,” Stevens said groggily Sunday afternoon.

He was given medication the night before at the emergency room and it had made him sick. “I just keep trying to sleep now,” he said.

Stevens, 53, broke his right wrist in the fall and it was placed in a temporary stabilizer until he can see a specialist _ he hopes on Monday.

“It was a freak deal,” he said. Nonetheless it is was one more broken bone in an encyclopedia of fractures, contusions and much more serious injuries that have struck the Canterbury Hall of Fame rider during a long, steady and productive career.

The injury will end another season much sooner than he wished and prevent him from finishing the meet in Shakopee. “I guess I’m going home earlier now,” he said.

First, he must get the wrist attended to properly, and he is fearful that a pin might have to be inserted to keep the bone in place while his wrist heals.

“It won’t stay in place,” he said. “Last night they put it in traction and pulled the wrist straight but as soon as they released the pressure it would pop back up. It’s really nasty looking. I probably will need surgery.”

Stevens knew immediately after the fall that his wrist was broken. “I could tell right away,” he said, “just by the way it was bent. I didn’t want to even move it until it was looked at. It was a nasty sight. Not pretty to look at, at all.”

Stevens has suffered numerous injuries in Shakopee in particular during his racing career. In recent years, he broke bones in his shoulders during an incident in the gate. Another time he dismounted after a race when a horse was in trouble, and was kicked in a knee while trying to help the animal, sidelined again those times.

In the worst accident of his career, he was airlifted from the track in the only such incident in Canterbury history following a spill on the track fighting for his life. That time he sustained mutiple injuries and broken bones. Broken ribs pierced his lung that time, yet he was riding again within three or four months.

“They did the best they could do last night in the ER,” he said. “I hope I can get in as soon as possible to have it looked at.”

Stevens has been riding in Shakopee since 1989. He has ridden at Turf Paradise in Phoenix during the winter months and in Shakopee during the summer in recent years. He was having another solid meet this summer with 17 wins, 25 seconds and 14 thirds from 136 mounts. His horses have earned $401,977.

Saturday night Speed Is Life won the Derby with a bold heading into the turn where Ry Eikleberry guided the horse into an emerging hole. That horse finished first, 3 ¼ lengths in front of fast-closing Vanderbilt Beach and ahead of A P Is Loose and Hansboro.

Moments later the first reports arrived that Stevens had been injured. The dean of the jockey lounge, he is long respected for his calm, measured demeanor and expertise in judging horses as well as riding them.

Yet, he had been injured once again. “It’s amazing. He’s such a good rider, not careless at all, yet now he’s hurt again,” a bystander said.



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