Jockey Martin Garcia

Jockey Martin Garcia

Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Jockey Martin Garcia Set to Return to Action

Mexican-born rider has worked out visa snafu and plans to resume mounts next week.

Jockey Martin Garcia, arriving from Mexico following an absence of more than two months, worked five horses at Hollywood Park on the morning of Jan. 22, agent Jim Pegram reported.

Pegram said Garcia would return to race action Jan. 27 at Santa Anita.

"He had a visa, but it had expired, so it was mandatory that he go back home (south of Mexico City) and reapply," Pegram explained. "We were able to ride through the Breeders’ Cup, but we’ve been idle 70 days now, since Nov. 8, which was pretty much what we were told by the immigration people at the time.

“He grew up in a small town south of Mexico City and that’s where he’s been," Pegram added. "He’s been working out every day and he told me he’s been doing a lot of mountain climbing, so he’ll be ready to ride real soon. We should be back in action next week.”

Garcia was first-call rider last year for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who said recently that the 26-year-old rider will need to work his way back before regaining that position. Baffert is currently atop the trainer standings at Santa Anita and has enjoyed much success early in the meet with Rafael Bejarano, who leads the jockey race.

Despite missing most of November and all of December, Garcia ended up ninth in the national standings for money earned in 2010 with more than $10 million in purse money. He rode Lookin At Lucky to victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) for Baffert last year.