Garrett Gomez

Garrett Gomez

Anne M. Eberhardt

Gomez Taken Off Mounts After Latest Absence

Persistent personal problems continue to take toll on two-time Eclipse Award winner.

Garrett Gomez, who took off his six riding assignments at Santa Anita Park Oct. 6 due to a missed flight from Kentucky, will be off his mounts for the remainder of the week pending a hearing before track stewards.

Gomez won two races at Keeneland Oct. 5, but failed to make his flight to return to Southern California where two of his other mounts won the following day at Santa Anita.

"He's going through personal problems," said his agent, Tony Matos. "He texted me yesterday and said he didn't want to ride for a while."

Gomez is a two-time Eclipse Award winner in 2007-08 as the nation's leading rider and winner of the Shoemaker Award for outstanding performance by a jockey in the 2005, 2007, and 2008 Breeders' Cup World Championships. The 41-year-old Gomez has been dogged by personal issues throughout his career, however. He missed most of June and July during the Betfair Hollywood Park and Del Mar meetings because of alcohol-related issues.

When he returned to riding at Del Mar in early August, he agreed to be subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol by the California Horse Racing Board, and was also required to undergo counseling under terms of a conditionally approved license.

The Tucson native had three wins, three seconds, and six thirds from 24 mounts at Santa Anita through the first seven racing days of the fall meet.

Since he began riding in 1988, Gomez has won 3,769 races from 21,639 mounts, with purse earnings of $205,224,899.