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Stevens rides 1st winner in comeback

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Gary Stevens won the first race at Santa Anita on Saturday, giving the Hall of Fame jockey his first winner in North America since 2005, when he began a seven-year retirement that ended last week.

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Stevens rode 5-1 shot Branding to a 2 1/2-length victory in his third race since beginning his comeback on Jan. 6. It was the 4,889th win of Stevens' career that includes three Kentucky Derbys and eight Breeders' Cup races.

Stevens, who turns 50 in March, has been doubling as an analyst on HRTV in between riding races.

He is scheduled to ride four horses on Sunday's card, including Tale of a Champion in the $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes for older horses.

Stevens' career includes two Preakness Stakes victories, three Belmont Stakes wins and more than $221 million in purse earnings.

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
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