Top jockey Garrett Gomez and a group of Southern California based riders will contribute $16,500 to the Winners Foundation Jan. 3 at Santa Anita Park. The Winners Foundation helps individuals and families in the racing industry with alcohol and substance abuse problems and is based at Santa Anita. The foundation is funded primarily by racing associations throughout California.
“Without the Winners Foundation, I wouldn’t be riding today,” said Gomez, who led all North American Jockeys in purse money won for a third consecutive year in 2008. “I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Bob Fletcher and everyone involved with the Winners Foundation. They have provided me strength and have helped me maintain my focus during my period of recovery. My family and I could never thank them enough and I’m honored to be able to give back to the Winners Foundation in this way.
“They help people throughout racing, on the backside, frontside, everywhere. I can’t think of a more deserving organization, and I know I speak for hundreds of other people. They do great work and I wish
Fletcher, the executive director of the Winners Foundation, will accept an oversized check on behalf of the Winners Foundation between races six and seven.
“We’re thrilled to receive this very substantial contribution,” said Fletcher. “The jockeys are obviously such an integral part of our business and they face tremendous pressures. To have a guy of Garrett’s magnitude step up, along with everyone else, is very gratifying. We are blessed to have people of this caliber in our industry and this contribution is a big help to us here at the Winners Foundation.”
The check will be presented on behalf of the jockeys by Darrell Haire, Western Regional Jockey Guild Manager and Winners Foundation board member.
First post time on Jan. 3 at Santa Anita is 12:30 p.m. PDT, with the check presentation taking place at approximately 3:10 p.m.