Nightly News | June 07, 2013
>>> finally tonight when they run the belmont stakes tomorrow in new york , all eyes will be on oxbow and his jockey gary stevens . will they be able to pull off a repeat performance after winning the preakness? for stevens it would be a sweet victory . our story tonight from brian shactman .
>> it's oxbow and gary stevens to win the preakness.
>> coming in first last month gary stevens 's experience served him well. at 50 his ninth victory in a triple crown race was four months after coming out of retirement. he beat jockeys who were still in grade school the first time he won the race.
>> i didn't know whether i would be able to do it. one reason for the comeback was to see if i could.
>> reporter: at new york 's belmont park you can't blame stevens for being nostalgic this week. he first raced here in 1988 when he had a little bit more hair.
>> so i just went into the racing office to get my badge. i hadn't been licensed here since 2005 .
>> reporter: just a year ago he had a different credential as an analyst for nbc sports .
>> kind of small, isn't he?
>> reporter: he was finding success as an actor in "seas y biscuit" and "luck." stevens realized the knees that forced his retirement seven years ago felt good.
>> i got the itch back.
>> reporter: soon after deciding on a comeback he ran into legendary trainer d. wayne lucas who knew stevens was perfect to ride a horse like oxbow into the winner's circle.
>> it's like you're an nfl quarterback. when the game's on the line you want the experienced guy making those decisions. same thing here.
>> reporter: the tradition of horse racing and the prestige of the belmont stakes under scores that being a jockey is a tough job at any age.
>> like going out and driving an indy car without a seat belt . i tell people my knees are like retreads. they're good. you can go along at 70 miles per hour and then the rubber is on the side of the road . it just happens. i'm prepared for that.
>> reporter: until it does, this living legend is back in the saddle and leading the pack. brian shactman , nbc news, e belmont, new york .
>> watch tomorrow on nbc sports network and the big race at 5:00 on this nbc ation.