Canadian jockey Steven Bahen has been named the 2012 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.
Regarded as one of the hardest-working riders in the sport, Bahen recorded his biggest win when he rode Gino Molinaro’s T J’s Lucky Moon to victory in the 2002 Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine at odds of 82-1.
"Receiving this award means a lot,” Bahen said in a release. “To see the people that have been recognized, it makes this very special.
"I didn’t know Avelino, but I watched him ride when I was a kid. He was just so strong as a jockey. You hear everyone around the racetrack still talk about him. There are so many great stories.”
The award is given to the jockey, Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or a Canadian regular for more than five years, who has made significant contributions to the sport.
Bahen has won 1,234 races including 62 stakes triumphs, and has recorded more than $41.5 million in earnings. He began the 2012 Woodbine campaign on a winning note, taking the first race of the season aboard Absoulute Heaven.
Former Gomez honorees include Ron Turcotte, Johnny Longden, Sandy Hawley, Don MacBeth, Chris Rogers, Jeff Fell, Lloyd Duffy, Hugo Dittfach, Robin Platts, Larry Attard, Don Seymour, David Gall, Richard Grubb, Irwin Driedger, David Clark, Jim McKnight, Chris Loseth, Richard Dos Ramos, Robert Landry, Francine Villeneuve, Sam Krasner, John LeBlanc Sr., George Ho Sang, Jack Lauzon, Robert King Jr., Stewart Elliott, and last year's recipient, Emile Ramsammy..