Gomez to Ride Macho Again in Belmont

Gomez to Ride Macho Again in Belmont
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Garrett Gomez has been named to ride Macho Again in the Belmont Stakes.
(From Churchill Downs)

Garrett Gomez, the Eclipse Award winner as America’s top jockey in 2007, has been named to replace Julien Leparoux aboard Macho Again in the 1 1/2-mile final jewel of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Dallas Stewart said the decision by West Point Thoroughbreds to give the mount to Gomez should not reflect negatively on Leparoux, who had ridden Macho Again in four of his last five races and had won two of those.

“Julien has done a great job with him,” said Stewart.  “But after talking with (West Point Thoroughbreds’ managing partner) Terry Finley and the owners, it was decision based more on a ‘home court advantage’ for the rider.  Gomez is a New York rider and he knows that mile-and-a-half track. That’s not taking anything away from Julien or anything, but Gomez rides there every day and he’s going to ride a bunch on the card.

“We’re going up there trying to win it, not that we think we couldn’t win it with Julien,” Stewart said.  “Terry just felt that it would give us a little bit of an edge to have someone that rides there every day.”

Gomez leads the nation’s riders with more than $7.4 million in earnings on the year.  Macho Again will enter the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with a career record of 3-3-0 in nine races and earnings of $343,761.

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