Coil, one of the top 3-year-olds in America last year but unraced since October, showed he hasn't lost a step in the meantime with an authoritative victory in a $78,000 allowance/optional claiming race at Del Mar July 26.
The top four riders in the country based on earnings, two Hall of Fame jockeys with Preakness (gr. I) victories, another who has won the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, Maryland's all-time winningest rider, and Eclipse Award winners Kent Desormeaux and Garrett Gomez will do battle in the first Jockey Challenge at Pimlico.
Eclipse Award attendees and the TVG viewers tuned in on the night of Jan. 26 were anticipating, and many were hoping, that Curlin would repeat as Horse of the Year.
Garrett Gomez made a valiant effort to break the record for purse earnings in a year when he won with his first three mounts at Santa Anita Dec. 31. But in the one race he had to win, the $76,400 Kalookan Queen Handicap, the 2007 Eclipse Award-winning jockey finished third aboard Baroness Thatcher.
Two days after being thrown and a day after cosmetic dental surgery, jockey Garrett Gomez was back aboard horses at Santa Anita Dec. 29, winning two races.
Jockey Garrett Gomez is expected to return to riding on Dec. 29 following a nasty fall on the turf course at Santa Anita Park two days earlier.
On a day in which short-priced winners in graded stakes produced a Pick 6 that paid a scant $48, champion Dreaming of Anna closed out the action at Churchill Downs June 14 with a win in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. III).
Garrett Gomez was the envy of every jockey June 14 at Churchill Downs. Who wouldn't want to pick up the mount for the first time on a horse that had won eight of her previous 18 starts? Not to mention that she loves the distance and the racetrack.
Juddmonte Farms' Ventura sat patiently off the pace, slipped through along the hedge at the head of the lane and pulled clear to win the $400,000 Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) June 7 at Belmont Park. The victory came by three-quarters of a length over a fast-closing Lady of Venice. Time for the one-mile race over a "firm" Widener Turf Course was 1:32.75.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s homebred Communique worked rail-skimming magic in deep stretch of the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) and swung out just in time to keep Helen Groves' Tejida from a wire-to-wire win in the April 24 event at Keeneland Race Course.
Two weeks ago, Todd Pletcher was sitting on the outside of the Derby picture looking in. But when Padua Stables and partners' Behindatthebar followed the hard-knocking efforts of Monba and Cowboy Cal in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with an impressive performance of his own in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 19, the venerable trainer could count not one, but three potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Ventura proved her affinity for Polytrack and American stakes competition when she mowed down a field of experienced contenders at Keeneland in the $200,000 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. II) April 9.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano was back in the saddle April 2, just 21 days after sustaining compressed fractures to his T-5 and T-6 vertebrae in a Santa Anita spill.
Steve Asmussen's 3-year-old colts have been in full view on the trail to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The trainer's fillies have been less visible, but his 3-year-old Sky Mom may get her chance to shine in the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks March 16.
Three days ago, trainer Larry Jones said he hoped Proud Spell would pressure Indian Blessing through the early lead in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). Although Brereton Jones' homebred Proud Citizen filly didn't exactly do that, she did manage to wear down the Eclipse Award winner and get her own score in the March 8 event in New Orleans.
Last December, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky lost the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) to the Dan Hendricks-trained Daytona by just three-quarters of a length. But roles were reversed March 8, as Proudinsky nipped Daytona in the stretch of the $600,000 Mervyn Munitz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a photo finish that was almost too close to call when she outbobbed 6-5 favorite Lear's Princess in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 16.
Quite a Bride turned in quite a performance and had 3-5 favorite Nashoba's Key playing the bridesmaid when she rolled to a solid win in the $500,000 San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes at Santa Anita Jan. 26.
The eight horses entered in the Jan. 19 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita are not lacking talent, but which runner will show the best turn of foot in the 1 1/4-mile turf event remains to be seen.
- By Claire Novak
The eight horses entered in the Jan. 19 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Jan. are not lacking talent, but which runner will show the best turn of foot in the 1 Â¼-mile turf event remains to be seen.
After finishing second for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the Dec. 29 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) over the Cushion Track at Santa Anita, 4-year-old Unspoken Word returns to turf and drops down in company to make her seasonal debut in the $100,000 Tuzla Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Jan. 19.
Jockeys in California are wearing plastic safety visors to protect their faces from harsh kickback as racing at Santa Anita continues despite the track's surface problems.
Members of the Southern California jockeys' colony, led by top jockey Garrett Gomez, will donate $20,300 to the Winners' Foundation on Dec. 29 at Santa Anita.
Joe Talamo, the leading candidate for this year's outstanding apprentice Eclipse Award, will no longer be represented by agent Ronnie Ebanks.
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.
Jockeys Rafael Bejarano and Julien Leparoux, currently among the top 12 riders in the nation by purses won this year, will move their tack to Southern California this winter, both riders' agents said Nov. 9.
- By Claire Novak
The prominent insurance companies American International Group (AIG) and Maroevich, O'Shea & Coghlan (MOC) Insurance Services have each made significant donations to the NTRA Charities Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund in the past few weeks, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Nov. 1.
Jockeys John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez offered opinions on their Breeders' Cup mounts in an Oct. 25 press conference held at Monmouth Park the day before the Oct. 26-27 event was to get under way.
Two days before the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Championships, trainer Todd Pletcher reviewed his 11 starters and shared his thoughts on the upcoming races, including possible scratches should the surfaces turn up wet or yielding due to weekend showers.
Live Oak Plantation's Les Grands Trois has been the victor in all but one of his four career starts despite an on-again off-again training regimen due to physical issues. The son of Officer looks for his first graded stakes win in the $200,000 Perryville (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 13.
Garrett Gomez, the leading jockey in the nation by purses earned, was scheduled to return to riding Oct. 4 but took off his mounts another day after an Oct. 3 incident at Belmont Park resulted in his hospitalization.
Jockey Garrett Gomez was hospitalized Oct. 3 following an incident at Belmont Park during the third race of the day.
The $150,000 Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland has drawn 10 older horses seeking redemption after recent performances.
Jockey Joe Bravo was hospitalized with a broken left collarbone following a spill at Belmont Park, when his mount broke down in the upper stretch during the third race on the New York track's opening day card.
- By Claire Novak
Ten races remain at Saratoga, and soon it will be time for the final start of the season.
Zayat Stables' J Be K, a 2-year-old son of Silver Deputy trained by Bob Baffert, broke the track record at Saratoga Race Course in the first start of his career when he blazed 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.13.
With eight racing days remaining until the end of the 2007 meet at Saratoga Race Course, the track's jockey colony is tightly bunched as usual, but the shifting fortunes of several riders make for an interesting match-up as we head into closing week. Here's a look at Saratoga's top 10 jockeys and their nearly finished summer seasons heading into Sunday's card.
For all those wondering if and when Wait a While would return to the form that earned her top honors in the 3-year-old filly division last year, well, pardon the pun, but the wait is over.
Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will start from post position number four in Saturday's running of the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
- By Claire Novak
This morning on the backside near the clockers' stand, Ron Anderson and Doc Danner are shooting the breeze, taking a break from the normal routine of lobbying trainers and chatting up owners in the hopes of scoring winning mounts for their riders. Anderson represents Garrett Gomez, currently fifth in the standings at Saratoga. Danner's jock is Shaun Bridgmohan, who ranks tenth.
Trainer Todd Pletcher announced Tuesday morning that the filly Rags to Riches will contest the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and be ridden by John Velazquez. Also, trainer Greg Fox said Rafael Bejarano has been named to ride Slew's Tizzy.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
California riding apprentice William Antongeorgi III took off his remaining mounts at Santa Anita Sunday after he was thrown during the fifth race at the Southern California track.
Garrett Gomez, the country's leading rider by total purse earnings last year, was victorious with his first five mounts at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Aussie Rules, who broke last in the nine-horse field, was determined under Garrett Gomez and drew away late to win his first start in the United States, the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Saturday.
One of the worst things a jockey at Saratoga can do to win a race these days is to use the rail in the final furlongs. There is a hard, smooth glide path just off the rail that seems to be more user-friendly to stretch-running horses en route to the winning post.
Jockeys John Velazquez, Garrett Gomez, and Edgar Prado are competing in the jockey category of the ESPY Awards, in which fans vote for outstanding performers or performances in 39 different categories.
Friendly Island attended the early pace, then took over in the stretch to win the $190,000 Emirates Airline Maryland Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico Saturday by three-quarters of a length. It was the second stakes win in a row for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Garrett Gomez.
English Channel, a top turf horse last year as a 3-year-old, may be even better this year, now two-for-two in 2006 after a win Saturday at Churchill Downs in the $454,900 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT).
Jockey Garrett Gomez, currently riding in California, has been named to replace the injured John Velazquez as Todd Pletcher's first-call rider.
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