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.
Gomez, the leading candidate for this year’s Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey, kicked off the donation with a $10,000 gift. This is the second year in a row that Gomez has donated $10,000 to the California non-profit, which helps individuals on the racetrack with substance abuse problems. Gomez enrolled in the program after undergoing treatment for substance abuse in the winter of 2003-2004, and since then has excelled at his profession. He leads the nation in earnings ($23,604,401) for the second year in a row.
“This is just part of me giving back,” said Gomez. “I’m able to do so and they were there for me. It’s a good foundation, it helps a lot of people on the backside – whoever has a problem, and not just with drugs and alcohol, but with internal problems with themselves. If there’s no funds it doesn’t survive.”
In addition to Gomez’s support, the fundraising efforts were boosted by a significant contribution from California newcomer Rafael Bejarano, who is spending the winter on the West coast for the first time.
Other riders donating to the fund included Michael Baze, Tyler Baze, Jon Court, David Flores, Martin Garcia, Aaron Gryder, Julien Leparoux, Richard Migliore, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, Joe Talamo, and Clinton Potts.
“This effort is greatly appreciated by the foundation,” said Daryl Haire, a Winners’ Foundation board member. “It’s great to see the jockeys giving back to the industry and helping out.”