Updated on 09/15/2011 1:17PM

Chris Loseth the winner of 2001 Gomez Award

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Chris Loseth, based at Hastings Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been named the 2001 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.

The award is given to a jockey who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or has been a regular rider in the country for more than five years and has made significant contributions to the sport.

It is presented annually on the day of the Canadian Oaks, which this year has been rechristened the Labatt Woodbine Oaks and will be run June 9 here at Woodbine.

Gomez, one of North America's most colorful and talented jockeys, died after a three-horse accident during the 1980 running of the Canadian Oaks.

A life-size statue of the Cuban-born Gomez, who settled in Toronto and raised a family here, overlooks the Woodbine walking ring. A replica is presented to each year's award winner.

The 46-year-old Loseth, born in Banff, Alberta, becomes the first British Columbia rider to win the award.

"It's been a dream life," said Loseth, who rode against Gomez when he shipped his tack to Toronto for the Greenwood fall meeting in 1976. "It's an honor to win this award."

Loseth, who began his career at Exhibition (now Hastings) Park in 1974, won his 3,000th race when he guided Megeka Sauce to victory in the first race at Hastings Park July 6, 1996.

On April 9, 1984, he won eight of 10 races at Exhibition Park. On three other occasions, he won six races on a single card.

Loseth won Sovereign Awards as Canada's outstanding apprentice jockey in 1976 and as outstanding jockey in 1984, becoming the first to pull off that double. He has won the Hastings Park riding title a record eight times and is the all-time stakes-winning jockey there with 186 victories.

Heading into the weekend, Loseth had compiled a career record of 3,430 winners, 3,192 seconds and 3,190 thirds from 24,181 mounts, accumulating purses of more than $28 million.

Loseth, inducted into the British Columbia Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in 1992, has served as president of the Jockeys' Benefit Association of Canada for the last four years.

He joins Ron Turcotte, John Longden, Sandy Hawley, Don MacBeth, Chris Rogers, Jeff Fell, Lloyd Duffy, Hugo Dittfach, Robin Platts, Larry Attard, Don Seymour, David Gall, Richard Grubb, Irwin Driedger, David Clark, and Jim McKnight as Gomez honorees.