January 3, 2010

Introducing Anthony Stephen

Anthony Stephen was born in Trinidad 36 years ago and his career and his family have taken him all over the world. As a promising young rider in Trinidad, he quickly became the best at his trade and looked for bigger opportunities than were offered in his homeland. He moved his tack to the Far East and the lucrative racing in Macau and Hong Kong. Far from his home, the young rider was once again a success. For seven years, he was a good enough rider to make a nice living and become well respected in that part of the world. It was there that he would meet his future wife, Henrike. Together they would have two children, Nicole and Joey. Both children were born deaf.

Once they learned there was something that could be done for their children‘s lack of hearing, the parents uprooted their lives to move to Vancouver, Canada. For Stephen, a jockey who has been well received wherever he has gone, it meant leaving a lucrative contract with a top trainer in Asia, to begin his career anew. The move was necessary, as it was one of the few places in the world where his children could undergo a procedure called cochlear implant surgery and receive the proper education and therapy afterwards. The surgeries have been a success and both Nicole and Joey now can hear sounds and are well on their way to hearing the world as improbable as that was a few years ago. It was truly a worthwhile sacrifice for their parents to make and for Anthony Stephen’s career as a jockey, it was a sacrifice.

For the second time he left a smaller market to search for bigger accomplishments. He moved his tack from Western Canada to Ontario, where despite having no agent and little as far as connections, Stephen once again proved himself a very skilled rider. He skyrocketed to second on the jockey standings at Fort Erie before making a successful foray into the competitive Woodbine colony. It was enough for him to decide to take the ultimate plunge and come to America and shoot for the stars. Henrike spurred on the idea and wanted her husband, who had given up great opportunity for his family, to now go after his career with everything he has. Stephen is now armed with an agent who is working to get the word out on his talented rider. Lou Agosto, like his client, is a hard worker with a personality hard to resist.  Agosto says,
“We hope to be invited by a major stable to serve as their primary rider after the Tampa meet is completed and I have already spoken to a series of winning stables from Kentucky, NYRA, Presque Isle, Monmouth and Delaware and if all goes as we hope, the purses at Calder will deservedly be returned to previous levels, which places Calder very high on the list of tracks we would like to base at year round. If no such invitation arrives then Anthony will ride at Woodbine's high quality, Summer meet.”
Jockey agent Lou, as I know him, brought the story of Anthony Stephen to me and I am glad that he did. It is hard not to root for a guy like Anthony Stephen. I am sure his talent, hard work, and personality will make him well liked in America, but that is not always enough. He begins his American career in Florida where he will ride at both Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park this Winter. This is a multiple group 1 winning jockey that few still know about here. He has already made some solid connections in Toronto and South Florida, but as every jockey knows you need the mounts, and as a new rider in the United States, mounts will not come easy. Stephen will have to battle with some of the top jockey colonies in the world, but as he has proven many times and in many places, all he needs is a chance. I hope American fans will be looking out with interest for him and just as importantly, I hope horsemen are willing to give a leg up to Anthony Stephen this year…they will not be sorry.

For more information on Anthony Stephen and his family, I invite you to read an excellent article written recently by Claire Novak on ESPN: Stephen's blue Christmas.


Anonymous said...

beautiful,inspiring article zipster...you have started 2010 with a blast my friend....sounds like a movie script,one better reads like an award winning movie.Surely from what i have garnered here,their is no doubt in my mind that this man will make it in the u.s.a....i remember asking my buddy @woodbine who this jock is and if he can ride this was like a couple months ago.Thanks Brian thats why you are the ZIPSTER my friend,you keep me informed,in tune and abreast with the situation in and around my favourite "thing".......great piece,heart warming on a cold january sunday in HALLANDALE (smile)....QUALITY story ,i am rooting for this man and his beautiful family.......2010 and its already happening!!!!!!!!

RTD Clockers said...

As a person who has ridden Anthony Stephen, he is the utmost professional. He loves horses, understands pace, works hard in the mornings and tries his butt off in the afternoon. We had some success together and I would never hesitate to give a leg up to Anthony whenever and wherever! I implore the trainers in US to give him a chance on some quality runners and I am sure they will not be disappointed .

ja.raymond said...

It didnt dawn on me at first, but after a minute, it came to me: I was looking up the results of a race and remember seeing this guys name in the charts (cant remember which track now). He had hit the board in almost every race! And I remember thinking, "Wow, this guy is pretty good!"
Thanx for the intro, Brian, I'll really have to keep an eye out for him now!

Brian Zipse said...

This man can ride...I did my research.

tjreyn01 said...

I'll be pulling for him. What a father to take the risk of moving and leaving a lucrative situation to ensure that his children would have the only opportunity to receive the cochlear implants. Unfortunately their are parents in our society that wouldn't do it. Glad to hear that it sounds like their surgeries were a success and they are doing good. Great story and glad that someone as nice as JockeyAgent Lou is representing him

Anonymous said...

its obvious this man has a huge heart made of gold,knows where his priorities lies and knows how to win in the game of life...no fear when it comes to taking the bull by the horns well travelled with more experience than any jockey that i know all these attributes will only enhance his stock of making it in the u.s.a....with a little luck and a fair shake this man is off to the races....hopefully he hangs around sofla which is a good place as any for him to get the start he needs....a great springboard for most of the great foreign riders who have made a name for themselves in the states....good luck Anthony and may the horses be with you....see you around!!!

Anonymous said...

Not familiar with him until today.
Any thought of him racing in SoCal
aka Del Mar, Hollywood Park and
Santa Anita. Weather is similiar to
FL, great hospitals aka Childrens
Hospital of L.A.
Purses look to be quite large..even thought I have never
attended any other track..in person. We need new Blood.

Jen W. said...

Would LOVE to see him at Monmouth this summer! I hope I get to watch him ride in person when I'm in Tampa!

Thanks, Brian for this article! I'll definitely be watching him...