Craig Stevens was mostly stoic as he kept his eyes glued to the television in the jockeys' locker room at Les Bois Park on Saturday.
That is until his brother started to make a move as he rode Oxbow in the Kentucky Derby.
As Gary Stevens held on to second place with a quarter-mile to go, Craig Stevens broke out shouts of "Come on, Gary!" with a few supportive claps in between. Though Gary Stevens finished sixth, he had a happy brother back at his hometown track.
"I thought the horse ran better than I thought it would," said Craig Stevens, the clerk of scales at Les Bois Park. " I'm as proud as can be. I'm excited."
Gary Stevens began his career as a jockey at Les Bois Park in 1979, and his career has taken him to eight Triple Crown wins and more than $200 million in winnings. Another brother, Scott, who himself has more than 4,000 wins, got his start at Les Bois. On Saturday, he had four top-three finishes and two wins at Phoenix's Turf Paradise.
The Stevens' family patriarch, Ron, has trained horses at Les Bois for more than 40 years - he had Lesson In Deceit run the 10th race Saturday with wife Barbara on hand watching. Ron Stevens currently oversees five horses and gets some help from Craig, who calls days past at Les Bois Park "a family thing."
"It's home," Ron Stevens said.
With a Treasure Valley native in the race, the attendance at Les Bois Park on Saturday was 7,183, and wagers on the Kentucky Derby and the live racing on the track were nearly even ($111,399 at Les Bois and $107,379 on the Kentucky Derby).
"When his name is back out there, everyone out here kind of feels a part of it when he's riding," Craig Stevens said.
With Gary Stevens ending a seven-year retirement in January and back in the most renowned race in the world Saturday, Les Bois Park was full of supporters. Though they faced 25-1 odds (12th best out of a field of 19) and drew only about 3 percent of the total bets placed at tracks around the country, Stevens and Oxbow no doubt had a much higher percentage in their corner in Boise on Saturday.
"It's awesome. You absolutely have to pull for the Idaho guy, and it's even better he's a Caldwell guy," said a fellow Caldwell standout athlete, former NFL quarterback Cody Pickett, who was in attendance Saturday.
At 50, Gary Stevens didn't simply come back to compete in the Kentucky Derby. His family says he's in it for the long haul, but that doesn't mean that despite thousands of races there isn't at least a sliver of unease.
"We've been watching him since he was 16, but it never changes, there's always a worry watching him, because we've seen things happen, but it's still a thrill to see," Ron Stevens said, adding that his son told him he "had a blast" despite not getting the win.
Even though Gary Stevens' career took him from Les Bois Park long ago, his family is consistently content in knowing he has never forgotten where he came from.
"They don't even have to ask him, he brings it up - he's from Idaho, he's from Boise," Craig Stevens said.