Jockey Gomez Arrested on Drug Charges

Jockey Garrett Gomez, who was arrested in Riverside County, Calif., on July 3 for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance, as well as for a failure to appear violation from a previous arrest in Los Angeles County, was released from custody early Friday morning after posting $20,000 bail.

Gomez had been in custody at the Southwest Detention Center near Temecula since his arrest.

"He bailed out at 7:30 this morning," an official at the detention center said. "A bond agent posted $5,000 for the possession charge and $15,000 for the out-of-county warrant from L.A. County. The warrant was for a failure to appear on similar charges in that county."

The 31-year-old rider will be required to return for arraignment in Southwest Justice Center Superior Court on the most recent charges against him on July 16. He was arrested on similar charges in Pasadena earlier this year, according to a source, and is also expected to face arraignment on those charges in the coming weeks.

Gomez has battled substance abuse issues in the past, but after moving his tack to the Southern California circuit in the mid-1990s, he was consistently a top-rider in the talent-rich jockey colony.

He won back-to-back runnings of the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Juddmonte Farms' Skimming in 2000 and 2001. He was also the regular pilot for champion Golden Apples and California-bred millionaire Budroyale, and was also aboard multiple grade I winner Denon for a victory in last year's Charles H. Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT).

Since riding his first winner in 1988, Gomez has reached the winner's circle 2,038 additional times and his mounts have earned $60,478,441.

Gomez hasn't ridden since December at Sunland Park, where he was the top jockey at the New Mexico oval before heading back to California shortly before Christmas. He was named on one horse for Santa Anita's opening-day card on Dec. 26, but was replaced on that mount when he failed to show up and hasn't been named to ride since.

He visited Santa Anita in late March expressing interest in returning to the saddle and contacted California Horse Racing Board officials last month, but has yet to be re-licensed in California this year, according to a source.

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