08/09/2013 3:39PM

Del Mar: Gomez excited to return to action

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez, out since July14, was set to resume riding races Saturday.

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DEL MAR, Calif. − Garrett Gomez wasted no time in launching his comeback at Del Mar on Friday morning.

“I bounced out of bed,” he said.

Gomez, who has not ridden since July 14 after undergoing treatment for alcoholism in late July, worked two horses at Del Mar on Friday, a day after he received clearance from a doctor and approval from track stewards to resume activity. He was scheduled to resume riding Saturday.

On Sunday, Gomez has four mounts on the nine-race program but does not ride in the day’s stakes – the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes, which drew only five fillies and mares.

Gomez took off his mounts on the opening day of this meeting July 17 and has ridden only four days since June 9 while dealing with family issues and treatment for alcoholism.

After meeting with track stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward on Aug. 2 to discuss his return to riding, Gomez was named to ride races from Wednesday through Friday of this week, pending doctor’s clearance and the results of urine tests to see if his levels of antidepressants were at baseline levels acceptable for athletic activity.

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Gomez did not ride Wednesday and Thursday while he underwent counseling for substance-abuse and mental-health issues at a clinic in Newport Beach, Calif. A doctor from that clinic sent a letter to the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday recommending Gomez be allowed to resume riding. The letter arrived after early scratches were submitted for Friday’s races, postponing Gomez’s riding comeback to Saturday.

In a letter to the racing board, Dr. Robert Johnson of the Amen Clinic of Newport Beach stated that Gomez’s usage of antidepressants was no longer at a level “that was clinically active” and would not affect his athletic ability.

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-08, Gomez had hoped to resume working horses sooner than Friday.

“I’ve been coming around, but I couldn’t do anything,” he said Friday morning. “I was excited. I was able to work.”

In an interview Thursday evening, Gomez said he had been frustrated that his return was delayed earlier this week while he underwent counseling.

“I want to move forward and do my job,” he said.

On Friday, the focus shifted to riding and reestablishing his position on the jockeys’ roster.

Gomez’s agent, Tony Matos, said Gomez is booked to ride two Grade 1 races later this month – on Wishing Gate in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17 and the English import Faraajj in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25.

Flores booked to ride in France

Jockey David Flores will spend the next week in France riding three stakes at Deauville for trainer Wesley Ward.

Flores is booked to ride Here’s Johnny in a $73,000 listed race over five furlongs Thursday, Richies Party Girl in the $106,000 Prix du Calvados over seven furlongs next Saturday, and No Nay Never in the $465,000 Prix Morny on Aug. 18. The Group 1 Prix Morny is run over six furlongs.

No Nay Never won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20 when ridden by Joel Rosario.

The trip will mark the first time that Flores, 44, has ridden in France. Flores traveled to Arlington Park last weekend to work all three horses.

The journey comes amid a slow start to Del Mar for Flores. Through Thursday, he had one win from 23 mounts.

“It’s been quiet,” he said. “It’s good to be available.”

DQs lead to purse redistribution

The purses of two races in July 2012 were ordered redistributed by Del Mar stewards earlier this month.

A Little Luckier and Winding Way were disqualified from purse earnings after overages for testosterone were found in postrace tests. The horses are trained by Carla Gaines, who is serving a 30-day suspension for the infraction.

A Little Luckier finished second in the first race at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 14, 2012. She has been disqualified to last in the field of seven, resulting in the forfeiture of $10,000 earned in that race. The original third- through sixth-place finishers – Tribal Gal, Swiss Bliss, Roust ’Em Bertie, and Resisting Arrest – were promoted one position each.

Winding Way won the fourth race at Del Mar on July 21, 2012. She was disqualified and placed last of seven, resulting in the forfeiture of the $42,600 winner’s share. The original second- through sixth-place finishers − Elvies Lane, You Can Dream, Gelila, Oulaoulala, and Lanida – were promoted one position each.

Kobe’s Back to skip futurity

Kobe’s Back, the winner of the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes in his only career start in June, will not run in the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4, trainer John Sadler said. Owned by Lee and Susan Searing, Kobe’s Back has been troubled by sore knees and will be pointed for the Santa Anita autumn meeting.

“We’ll breeze him in the next week or so,” Sadler said. “His knees got a little hot after the race. Lee said, ‘Don’t push him. Give him some time.’ ”

War Front colt wins first start

Diamond Bachelor, purchased for $570,000 at the Barretts March sale of selected 2-year-olds this year, won his career debut in a maiden race over a mile on turf Thursday. Trainer Patrick Biancone said Diamond Bachelor will be pointed for the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile over a mile on turf Sept. 4. The colt by War Front is owned by Diamond 100 Racing Club.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, who had three wins Thursday, Diamond Bachelor was always near the front and pulled away in the final furlong to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Carson’s Ten. Diamond Bachelor ($4.60) was timed in 1:35.82.

“He ran the way he works,” Biancone said.

◗ Jockey Corey Nakatani has been suspended three racing days – Wednesday through Friday – for causing interference in Wednesday’s second race. Nakatani’s mount, Go First, finished first by a nose in a maiden race for 2-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs but was ruled to have interfered with runner-up Ashleyluvssugar in the final strides.