Jockey Garrett Gomez, currently riding in California, has been named to replace the injured John Velazquez as Todd Pletcher's first-call rider. Pletcher has also named New York rider Mike Luzzi and Florida jockey Christopher DeCarlo to help fill the vacancy left by Velazquez, who is expected to miss at least three months of riding after fracturing his right shoulder blade April 20. "Garrett is coming in to kind of pick up the pieces," Pletcher said Saturday. "Mike Luzzi and Chris will also be riding for us. We're trying to keep things pulled together."
According to Gomez's agent, Ron Anderson, the jockey will fly to Kentucky on Monday and begin riding races at Keeneland on April 26."He's going to hop a red-eye and work some horses Monday and Tuesday," Anderson said. "He has mounts with Pletcher and Nick Zito and a couple of others, and then he'll be flying back to California on April 30 to ride Gold Rush Day here (Hollywood Park). He goes back to Kentucky on Wednesday of Derby week, and then he'll fly out to Belmont the day after the Derby to ride in New York. I'm heading up to New York as well, and we'll continue riding there."Pletcher said no decision has been made on riders for possible Kentucky Derby (gr. I) entrants Bluegrass Cat and Sunriver, although Patrick Valenzuela has been named to ride Keyed Entry.