Gomez Breaks Bailey's Stakes Mark

Gomez Breaks Bailey's Stakes Mark
Photo: Benoit
Garrett Gomez celebrates his 71st stakes win of the year after leading Spring Awakening to victory in the Moccasin Stakes.
Garrett Gomez established a North American record for stakes wins in a year when he drove favored Spring Awakening to victory in the $108,100 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park Nov. 11. The 71st stakes win of the year for Gomez broke the mark set by Jerry Bailey in 2003.

Gomez credited agent Ron Anderson for his success.

"It feels like we really accomplished something," Gomez said after sweeping the stakes at Hollywood Park this weekend to surpass Bailey with seven weeks to go in 2007. "It has been slowly sinking in."

Gomez leads all North American riders in purse earnings with more than $21 million. He won a pair of Breeders' Cup races Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.

Gomez, 35, who began his racing career in 1988, led all jockeys with $21,922,522 in 2006, but finished second to Edgar Prado in the Eclipse Award voting.

His 2007 stakes victories included runaway wins in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) on Midnight Lute and on Indian Blessing in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), a victory in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Any Given Saturday and a win on star filly Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

The Moccasin win came a day after Gomez tied Bailey's record aboard Hucking Hot in the Audrey Kenis Skirball Stakes.

With Gomez riding her for the first time, Spring Awakening always looked like a winner in the seven-furlong Moccasin. The California-bred daughter of In Excess was perfectly positioned in third on the outside of the pacesetting Sindy Jacobson and The Golden Noodle. After surging to the lead mid-stretch, she came home under some urging from Gomez as a two-length victor for her second win five lifetime starts. Spring Awakening previously ran second in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) on Polytrack.

"I couldn't ask her to run too much faster," Gomez said. "Her little legs were going a hundred miles an hour.  I didn't put her in the race, she put herself in the race. She was doing it all on her own."

Mike Mitchell trains the winner for owners Gerald Frankel and Robert and Coit Strauss. She was timed in 1:21.38 on the Cushion Track. The 8-5 favorite returned $5.20.

Sindy Jacobson, ridden by Tyler Baze, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of The Golden Noodle and Clinton Potts.

(Chart, Equibase)

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