Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens to have hip replacement

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will undergo hip replacement surgery before Christmas, which could put a premature end to his career. The 53-year-old says he doesn’t yet know whether he can return to riding next year.

Stevens announced the surgery in a statement released this week by his wife Angie. He says he’s been having problems with his hip in recent months and underwent tests on Monday that indicated surgery should be done soon.

Stevens is coming off a successful year in which he won 40 races from 316 mounts and had earnings of $5.9 million. He rode Beholder to a nose victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita last month.

“I wasn’t ready to hang it up and I still don’t know if I’m ready,” he said in the statement. “All I can do is have it done and hope for the best. I hope I’m in a position in a few months where I can make the choice if I want to go back to riding or not.”

Stevens has battled knee problems in recent years that led to temporary retirements. He made a comeback in January 2013 after being away for seven years and won the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic that year.

In 2014, he underwent knee replacement surgery that resulted in a four-month break.

Stevens has won 5,083 races in his career that began in 1979. He won the Kentucky Derby in 1988, 1995 and 1997.

Alpinista overcomes heavy ground to win l’Arc de Triomphe

Qatar Prix de Arc de Triomphe
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PARIS – Alpinista made light work of the rain and heavy ground to narrowly win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Jockey Luke Morris attacked heading into the last furlong and the 5-year-old mare just held off a late charge from Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon on Vadeni and last year’s 80-1 winner Torquator Tasso, ridden by veteran Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I had a beautiful draw in stall six and after being perfectly placed, there was a second when I thought we were getting drawn into it too early,” Morris said. “But once she had taken charge, I was able to sit on her from 100 meters out.”

Morris felt the conditions would have made it harder for Alpinista to attack the way she did.

“I was concerned when all that rain came but the race went very smoothly,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how it could have in a 20-runner Arc. It was incredible.”

Alpinista was among the pre-race favorites.

“If it hadn’t been my horse, I would have thought it was going to win every inch of the way, but when it’s your own of course it’s a nightmare,” Alpinista trainer Mark Prescott said. “I didn’t think all that rain would help, but she’s never traveled better and has come on with each race.”

It was not yet clear if Alpinista will next race at the Breeders’ Cup or the Japan Cup next month.

Royal silks return as King Charles III’s horse finishes 2nd

Ascot Races
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SALISBURY, England – The famous royal silks returned to British horse racing with the first runner under the ownership of King Charles III finishing a distant second at Salisbury.

Educator was the first horse to wear the purple, red and gold silks since the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8.

Her oldest son and heir, Charles, has taken on the royal stable and Educator was sent off as the 11-10 favorite under jockey Tom Marquand for the Radcliffe & Co Handicap.

Okeechobee won by 4 \ lengths in the four-horse race.

The queen’s last runner was Improvise, who was beaten narrowly at Epsom on the day the monarch died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.