Agent Ron Anderson, who formerly represented Jerry Bailey, and West Coast jockey Garrett Gomez announced their decision to work together Saturday after Gomez parted ways with Jim Pegram. Anderson, who was left without a rider after Hall of Famer Bailey retired, said partnering with 34-year-old Gomez made the most sense at this point in his career."I lived in California for a long time. I had Gary Stevens out there and Chris Antley for a while, so it's home to me," said the agent, who will fly to the West Coast Sunday. "I had plenty of offers, and a lot of them were good, but teaming up with Garrett just kind of made sense. He's a great up-and-coming young rider, and I'm excited about working with him." Gomez said he was surprised at Anderson's interest since he didn't have the agent in mind when he fired Pegram. "I've been very fortunate in the past year, but I really felt like I needed an agent who would have the same kind of goals I have – to maintain my career and start to take it to the next level," the jockey remarked Saturday evening. "It kind of hit me like a deer in the headlights when Ron called, but it all came together when he offered to take my book.
"It was a great feeling to get one Breeders' Cup race, let alone two," said Gomez, who won the NetJets Mile (gr. IT) aboard Artie Shiller and the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) with Stevie Wonderboy while with Pegram in 2005. "We worked really hard to get to that point, and now that I've tasted it, I want to do what it takes to stay up there. I like riding the big horses, I like being in the competition for leading rider at different tracks, and I'm hungry for more. I want to stay at the top, and it'll be great to work with Ron because I know he'll be able to help me achieve that."Anderson said that while replacing Bailey will be virtually impossible, he's ready to move on. "Jerry and I have a lot of good memories together," said the agent, who represented Bailey for six years. "He won four Eclipse Awards the first four years I had his book, and even though he only rode about 650 horses last year, he still won 62 stakes. He will be very tough to replace, but I'm enthusiastic about working with Garrett. He's a great rider, he's overcome a lot, and we're both ready to get out there and get to work."Gomez initially considered hiring Bob Meldahl, but changed his mind after hearing from Anderson. Meldahl said he would continue to represent Corey Nakatani.
Meanwhile, Gomez's former agent, Jim Pegram, said he would team up with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who will remain in California instead of shifting his tack to the East Coast.