Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Garrett Gomez was born on January 1, 1972, in Tucson, Arizona. He began his career in September 1988 at Santa Fe Downs and rode the fair circuit before moving to Nebraska's Fonner Park and Ak-Sar-Ben. He was the second leading apprentice jockey in 1989 with 182 winners.
Gomez again leads the nation in earnings and on November 10, 2007, he tied Jerry Bailey's record for stakes wins in a year aboard Hucking Hot in the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes at Hollywood Park. Gomez said, "A lot of the credit goes to my agent. He has put us in all the right places this year. At first when they kept telling me about it and telling me about it, I was just going like 'yeah, yeah, yeah.' But now that I'm there, it's a nice feeling to be able to put my name up there with a guy like that.
Due to personal problems, including substance abuse, Gomez missed 21 months of racing and entered rehab on October 29, 2003. He overcame these problems and two years to the day after entering rehab, he won two Breeders' Cup races, the Mile aboard Artie Schiller and the Juvenile aboard Stevie Wonderboy.
In 2007, Gomez is ranked first in North America for earnings with over $20 million through the first of November. He won two races at the 2007 Breeders' Cup, the Juvenile Fillies aboard Indian Blessing and the Sprint aboard Midnight Lute, and was third in the Distaff aboard Octave. This won him his second Bill Shoemaker Award as best jockey at the Breeders' Cup, his first was for 2005 where he also had two wins.
Although Gomez was based in Southern California for most of his career, he moved his tack to the East coast to become the first-call rider for trainer Todd Pletcher in April 2005 when John Velazquez was out with an injury. He continues to ride for Pletcher, and although he went to California for the winter, he returned to New York in the spring.
Gomez led the nation in earnings in 2006 with over $21 million, but he still finished second in the Eclipse Award voting for Champion Jockey. If he can keep on track, it is just a matter of time before he adds that to his accomplishments.
Gomez is married to wife Pam and has four children: Amanda, Shelby, Jared, and Collin. They reside in Duarte, California.