Apparently Hawaii and the home hobby horse were just what the doctor ordered for Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.
Stevens resumed riding in Phoenix last weekend after breaking his hand in a freak accident following the Minnesota Derby on August 9 at Canterbury Park.
All went well.
He got his first winner of the meet and answered all personal concerns about his riding condition.
Stevens had five mounts on Saturday’s card at Turf Paradise and wasn’t certain beforehand if he could handle the load. “I wasn’t planning on that many,” he said. “But there’s so many riders here that you can’t pass up any opportunities.”
Not a problem, as it turned out.
“I never even took a deep breath,” he said after getting his first winner of the meet.
He credits numerous long walks, hikes and swimming in Hawaii, where he spent a week, as well as sessions on his mechanical horse at home in Phoenix for making the difference.
Physically, he feels fine as well after the surgery. “I’m not even taking an aspirin,” he said.
Stevens was injured when the horse he was on, Bet Your Socks, acted up after galloping out following the Minnesota Derby and dropped him on the racetrack.
He broke a hand in the spill and later underwent surgery to put the fractured bone back in place.
Stevens will be back in action when Turf Paradise resumes action this weekend.
He rides a horse named ( remember) Rock and Glory in the
$35,000 Princess of Palms Stakes for trainer Robertino Diodoro on Saturday’s card.
Rock and Glory is a 5-2 morning line favorite and Stevens likes the horse a lot. “He looks real tough in that one,” Stevens said.
As for Diodoro, who unseated Mac Robertson for the training title in the most recent meet at Canterbury Park, he has picked up right where he left off in Phoenix last spring after winning that training title with 128 wins, a Turf Paradise record. He won the Bienvenidos Stakes on opening day with Storm Power and saddled six other winners as well through opening weekend.
“It’s a good start, for sure,” he said. “I’ve got a good little run going. Now I have to keep it up.”
Diodoro will run horses at Hot Springs and in California as well as Phoenix in the upcoming weeks and says he’s committed to running again in Shakopee next season, especially now that he feels established at Canterbury.
“I’ll be back there for sure,” he said. “Like I said, I wanted to do well enough to make that my summer home.”
CANCHARI HOPES TO FOOL THE MEDICS
Alex Canchari, who got his foot in the door at Santa Anita following the Canterbury meet, continues to recover from injuries in a spill at the Southern California track.
He said he hopes to be back in the saddle faster than doctors are predicting for him.
He underwent surgery after breaking his collarbone, several ribs and suffered collapsed lungs when his horse clipped heels with another. “The other days I looked like I had been in a boxing match,” he said.
“My face was swollen and I was banged up, but my agent stopped by the other day and couldn’t believe how well I’ve healed.”
Doctors told Canchari it would be two to three months before he could resume riding but he’s hoping to beat that prediction. “When I broke my shoulder in New York, the doctors said it would be 12 weeks at least,” he said. “But I came back in four weeks, and I feel good right now.”
Canchari’s agent, by the way, is Jim Pegram, a brother to Mike Pegram, a chief client for trainer Bob Baffert.
Canchari was getting on horses for some of the biggest barns at Santa Anita when the injury occurred.
“It’s a shame,” said Diodoro, who used Canchari at times last summer in Shakopee. “He’s been working horses for some good outfits. “But that kid’s going to make it.”