STEVENS HEADS HOME TO PHOENIX

ScottStevens_Cake600x300

The mobile trailer is gone. The golf cart, too. Even the power washer is gone.

Friday, Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, a fixture in Shakopee since 1989, will be gone, too.

Stevens sold the trailer he has lived in during Canterbury Park meets the past few summers as well as the cart in which he traveled from barn to barn mornings and maybe back to the racing office. “I even got rid of the power washer,’’ he said Thursday night.

Stevens broke his right hand during a freak accident following the Minnesota Derby on Aug. 9, one more injury on a long list incurred in Shakopee.

Broken collar bones, crushed ribs, deflated lungs, fractured knees _ a veritable encyclopedia of injuries that occur in horse racing, all with his name attached to each of them.

The only person ever injured at the Shakopee racetrack who required an air lift by helicopter to save his life.

Add up the list of fractures, contusions and punctured organs and the most resolute of human beings could not help but feel a bit jinxed by a racetrack known for something quite the opposite. What…injuries at Canterbury?

Can’t talk about it in the same context as some racing venues.

Stevens has made it clear since the latest incident that he does not intend to return again, that he will restrict his riding perhaps to meets at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where he lives, where his family resides.

Stevens originally planned to leave on Saturday. “I changed my doctor’s appointment,’’ he said. Instead of later in the day, he will have the stitches removed from his wrist at 9 a.m. “We’re heading out after that,’’ he said.

Thursday night his colleagues in the jockey lounge, well aware that some of them may not see him again, presented the dean of Canterbury riders with two farewell cakes _ one imploring him to change his mind and return, the other wishing him good fortune whatever his choice.

.”Nobody wants to see Scott go,’’ said Ry Eikleberry, who as an apprentice regarded Stevens as his mentor.

Nonetheless, ,knowing that this might be it, trainers, colleagues and acquaintances of every regard wished Stevens Godspeed, shook his hand and hugged Pam, his significant other.

“We’ll see you around, somewhere,’’ said trainer Bernell Rhone.

“You’ll change your mind in a couple of months,’’ said trainer Doug Oliver.

Stevens simply shrugged his shoulders.

He seems steadfast in his decision. His daughter, Jessica, is due to give birth to a third child. He’d like to be in Phoenix to watch this grandson or daughter grow up.

He is leaving behind a barn full of memories.

“I’ve made some very good friends here,’’ Stevens said. “I’ve known some of these people a very long time.’’

Although no one will be surprised if he shows up against for the 2015 meeting, no one will be surprised if he doesn’t. Especially his fellow riders.

They made that clear in the jockey lounge with one of the two cakes they presented him, their heartfelt wishes spelled out in frosting:

“Please come back.’’

BY JIM WELLS

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Comments

  1. Johnny Love says:

    Great story, great guy, and great Scott Stevens memories. Well done Jim!

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