Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will undergo knee replacement surgery and has stopped riding for the foreseeable future.
Stevens announced on HRTV Thursday that he has stopped riding immediately to have the procedure and plans to return to racing after rehabilitation.
"My knee has thrown in the 'white flag,'" Stevens said during an interview on HRTV's "Grandstand" show. "I rode last weekend in New York, and then at Monmouth Park, and on the flight back (my knee) was aggravated pretty good. I had a little procedure done on Monday, and my knee didn't react well to it."
The 51-year-old jockey has had problems with his knees previously, which forced him to retire for seven years from 2005 to 2013. He returned to riding full-time just before his 50th birthday in January 2013. Knee problems also forced Stevens to take time off in 1999-2000.
"Well, I've said since the time of my comeback that there was going to be a day that would come that I needed to give my knee a rest, and that day has come," the jockey noted.
Stevens has been told that the typical length of rehab is six months.
"They said the one thing I have going for me is (that) I'm a fit, fit human being right now," Stevens said during the interview. "They're not really used to seeing this type of person come in for a knee replacement. They said that's going to be a big benefit to me. It should shorten things up a little bit."
Last year, Stevens won the Preakness Stakes with Oxbow and the Breeders' Cup Classic aboard Mucho Macho Man. He has 4,988 wins and $236,951,490 in career earnings.