Jockey Garrett Gomez, returning March 9 from a fractured heel sustained two months ago, decided not to continue his comeback after one race at Santa Anita.
The two-time Eclipse Award-winning rider said “there’s just too much pain” in the injured area for him to continue. He was replaced on his only other ride of the day.
In the third race, Gomez finished fifth going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course aboard the John Sadler-trained maiden filly Miss Pippa and was limping noticeably after he dismounted. He later decided not to honor his ride in the sixth race.
Gomez fractured his left heel Jan. 8 when he was dislodged by his horse as they left the paddock heading for the tunnel to the track. He underwent surgery in which 10 screws and a plate were inserted to repair multiple fractures.
“I might give it (the injury) another week,” said Gomez. “There’s just a little more pain than I expected. It’s quick. Like I said, I’ll give it another week.”
Gomez was named on three more mounts March 10, including Tiz Point in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
His goal had been to ride top Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) prospect Out of Bounds in the San Felipe. Out of Bounds however, came off the Triple Crown trail March 5 when he had sustained a leg fracture in a workout at Hollywood Park.
America’s leading rider by money won four consecutive years, 2006-09, Gomez was voted the Eclipse Award as champion jockey in 2007 and ’08.