Jockey Hamilton is returning to Oklahoma

January 08, 2000|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Jockey Steve Hamilton, a fixture on the Maryland racing circuit for nine years, is leaving the state to return to Oklahoma, where he has purchased a 190-acre farm.

Known as "The Cowboy" after riding bulls as well as thoroughbreds in Oklahoma, Hamilton won the 1998 Federico Tesio Stakes with Thomas Jo (who later finished third in the Belmont under Chris McCarron) and rode a number of other fine stakes horses, including Mz. Zill Bear (1995 Maryland Million Ladies winner) and grass specialist John's Call.

"I had the opportunity to sit on a lot of nice ones here," he said. "But my boys [Garrett and Winston] are getting bigger, and we're moving to where the pace is a little slower."

He plans to continue riding at Lone Star Park in Texas and Remington Park in Oklahoma City, about an hour north of where the family will settle in Roff, Okla. In the winter, he will work at horse sales in Florida.

In 1993, Hamilton had a string of bad luck, including four ribs and an elbow fractured in one spill, and a diagnosis that he might have a serious condition such as cancer or Hodgkins' disease after a massive lump was discovered in his chest. It turned out to be an infection that was treated with antibiotics.

"I had to take everything in stride that year and hope everything worked out. Thank God it did," he said.

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