South Point hosts renowned jockey, sportscaster


One of the things I love about Las Vegas is, if you wait long enough, many of the great ones will come to you. That will be the case at the South Point race book at 11 a.m. Wednesday, when jockey Gary Stevens and sportscaster Dick Enberg will do a meet and greet hosted by Ralph Siraco.

There is not enough room to credit the achievements of these two in their careers, but here is a small capsule.

Stevens was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1998 at age 35. He has won all three legs of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, with three victories in the Belmont.

His acting career alone is a highlight reel. Stevens played George Woolf in the heralded movie “Seabiscuit” and was a cast member of the HBO racing series “Luck.”

Stevens retired in 2005 because of a bad knee. After working in broadcasting, training and as an agent, he returned to the saddle in January.

It was a storybook comeback. Stevens won the Preakness on Oxbow for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He capped the year with two Breeders’ Cup wins — on Beholder in the Distaff and on Mucho Macho Man in the Classic.

Enberg has won 13 Emmy Awards for broadcast excellence. There is not a major sporting event he has not covered, including eight Super Bowls and the World Series.

His signature catchphrase is “Oh, my” in describing an outstanding play.

The first game I recall hearing Enberg do was the 1968 “Game of the Century” in college basketball between undefeated Houston and UCLA. The Cougars, led by Elvin Hayes, stopped Lew Alcindor and the Bruins’ 47-game win streak 71-69.

Many of us still remember Enberg hosting “Sports Challenge,” which aired from 1971 to 1979. This was before ESPN, when sports highlights and seeing athletes up close was not the norm.

The South Point also will have a handicapping contest in which the first 300 entries will receive a copy of Stevens’ autobiography, “The Perfect Ride.” Entry fee is $10.

■ CASH CALL FUTURITY — As the days dwindle down in the life of Hollywood Park, the $750,000 Cash Call Futurity will be run Saturday. For these Kentucky Derby hopefuls, it will be their last starts as 2-year-olds.

There is a better chance of the Derby winner coming out of this group than in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. New Year’s Day, Havana and Strong Mandate were good at Santa Anita, but the potential of the Futurity field is off the charts.

I predict the Futurity will be a key race filled with six graded-stakes winners. Shared Belief (7-2) visually was most impressive in winning the Hollywood Prevue. But don’t count out Tap It Rich (9-2), Tamarando (4-1), Kobe’s Back (9-2) and Bond Holder (8-1) in this deep field.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.