Garrett Gomez, the leading jockey in the nation by purses earned, was scheduled to return to riding Oct. 4 but instead took off his mounts and hopes to ride Oct. 5 after an incident at Belmont Park resulted in his hospitalization Oct. 3.
Gomez was unseated when his mount, the Dale Romans-trained Westmoreland, stumbled at the start of the third race on the card, a 1 1/16-mile claiming event on the inner turf. The jockey was on his feet after the incident, but complained of lower back pain and was transported to North Shore University Hospital for a thorough examination.
“He went in (to Belmont) today but had a little soreness in his back,” said the jockey’s agent, Ron Anderson. “I think the doctors at the track are more cautious than they used to be. As soon as he said he felt back pain they said he was going to the hospital (Oct. 3). He fell kind of awkwardly and I think it was more like a body slam than anything else. I would anticipate he would ride (Oct. 5), but I won't know until I speak with him.”
Anderson said x-rays and an MRI of Gomez’s back, taken Oct. 3, returned negative.
Gomez is the leading rider in the nation with $16,455,724 in earnings and 199 wins from 985 starts in 2007. He has piloted 57 stakes winners thus far this year, including grade I wins in the Santa Monica Handicap aboard Pussycat Doll, the Las Virgenes Stakes, Santa Anita Oaks, and Kentucky Oaks aboard Rags to Riches, the Haskell Invitational on Any Given Saturday, the Hopeful Stakes with Majestic Warrior, and the Woodbine Mile aboard Shakespeare. He has a 20% win rate and finishes in the money 52%.
Karen Johnson contributed to this article