Apprentice jockey Eulices Gomez made his first ride a memorable one when he guided Neiman the Saint ($6.40) to a front-running victory in the first race at Bay Meadows Saturday.
"It was great," said Gomez, a 22-year-old native of Los Angeles. "I was just hoping no one was coming. I knew I was in front quite a ways, but I just kept riding."
Gomez has been galloping horses in Southern California for three years, primarily for trainers Scott and Keith Craigmyle and Wayne Robison, who manages a horse farm in Santa Ynez. He also gets on horses for Karen Headley, daughter and assistant trainer for Bruce Headley.
Keith Craigmyle, who claimed the 3-year-old gelding out of his previous race for $12,500, trains Neiman the Saint, who won for a $16,000 claiming tag Saturday.
"I want to thank the Craigmyle's, Wayne, and Karen," said Gomez. "I also want to thank my parents and my girlfriend for all their support."
Gomez has two mounts on Sunday's card at Bay Meadows. When asked if he planned to ride regularly in Northern California, he responded, "I don't know. I'm playing things by ear right now."