08/02/2013 6:31PM

Del Mar: Gomez gets conditional permission to resume riding

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez had a 90-minute meeting with stewards on Friday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Jockey Garrett Gomez, who has not ridden since July 14 after undergoing recent treatment for alcoholism, was given conditional approval to resume riding at Del Mar on Wednesday, pending the results of a urine test this weekend, track stewards said on Friday.

Gomez participated in a 90-minute hearing with stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward on Friday, to discuss his absence on the opening days of the current meeting, which began on July 17.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

At Friday’s formal hearing, and at an informal hearing on July 28, Gomez told track stewards that he sought treatment for alcoholism and had been given a prescription for antidepressants to aid his recovery. Gomez said he was in the process of reducing the dosage of antidepressants.

If the urine test taken on Friday shows that the level of antidepressants has reached a “baseline level” acceptable for athletic activity, the stewards said that Gomez could resume riding on Wednesday. Entries for Wednesday’s program will be taken on Saturday.

If the urine test has reached acceptable levels, Gomez can begin exercising horses on Tuesday, according to racing board investigators. Another urine test will be conducted Sunday to see if the level of medication has dropped through the weekend, according to testimony at Friday’s hearing.

Should the tests show higher-than-expected levels of the antidepressants, Gomez’s comeback could be delayed, the stewards said.

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007 and 2008, Gomez, 41, took off his mounts at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 13, citing the needs to spend time with his family. He did not ride the remainder of June, saying at the time that he was working on issues involving his marriage.

On July 28, Gomez said that he is separated from his wife, Pam, and that divorce proceedings are under way.

Gomez returned to ride for a four-day span at Hollywood Park from July 11-14, but took his mounts on July 17. He was named to ride July 18-20, but was removed from his mounts on those days by track stewards because of his absences. Gomez has not ridden since.

Gomez said on July 28 that he had begun drinking earlier in the summer.

The stewards announced at Friday’s hearing that Gomez would be fined $1,000 for missing his mounts at the start of the meeting, and that he will be required to check in on a daily basis with California Horse Racing Board investigators. In addition, he will be asked to submit to random drug testing and must enter into a counseling agreement with the Winner’s Foundation, which aids people in horse racing in Southern California with substance abuse issues.

Gomez told the stewards on Friday that in the last week he had attended three counseling sessions.

At Friday’s hearing, Bob Fletcher of the Winner’s Foundation said that Gomez will begin undergoing treatment with psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, of Newport Beach, Calif., for treatment of substance abuse issues, mental health, and nutrition.

The stewards have asked for written documentation from Amen that Gomez is fit to resume riding.

After the meeting, Gomez said he was anxious to return, but said he “a little frustrated” at some of the requirements placed on him by stewards, notably the need to check with investigators on a daily basis.

“I felt like it was more than I thought I’d have to go through,” he said. “I’ve got to play by the rules they want to me to play by.”


Daniel More than 1 year ago
Good Luck Garrett. Hope U can turn your life around...SO TALENTED.
Brittney More than 1 year ago
I've rode for 25 years, never able to make the weight......still have so much passion for the business. That being said.....Gomez IS and always has been the one I admire and followed. Addiction does not define who he is, he will get through this.....and come back even stronger. OAKLAWN misses you GO GO!!!!
Thomas Chase More than 1 year ago
Alcoholism is a diseases that requires lifetime treatment. It wouldn't surprise me if some of those posting negative comments suffer from the same disease. Don't forget about the 3 fingers pointing back at you. What is gratifying about this is the effort being put forth by all parties to protect racing itself, as well as the horses and personnel on the track, whether it be in the early morning or during an afternoon card. Regarding the final comments from Gomez: my common sense tells me there were other sentences in his comment that weren't included in this story as he communicated his message. Unfortunately writers and editors see the need to validate themselves as journalists by manipulating a comment, clinging to the negative for the sake of "objectivity and professionalism."
mike gentile More than 1 year ago
Just Give The A*****e Another Chance How Many Chances Are You Going To Give A Drug Addict Drunk Who Has Thumbed This Nose At His Profession Way Too Many Times. I Say Suspend Him For Life So He Is Not A Threat Too Any Other Riders Out On The Track And Hell That Should Not Be Too Many Since California Racing Is Pitiful With 6 Horse Fields.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Wow! Don't hold back there Mike. Your comments seem more than a bit harsh and unfair. Besides, your abuse of punctuation and capitalization should get you banned from commenting for life.
mike gentile More than 1 year ago
Why Mark Because You Don't Have The Talent To Articulate The Way I Do That's Because You Are Of The Same Low Life Quality As Garrett Gomez
Walter More than 1 year ago
Not liking Gomez attitude on this. He should be thankful that he gets to ride on weds. He caused his own problem here. He deserves to be put on the same program as Tyler & PVal.
morton erskine More than 1 year ago
A little frustrated ???? You could always take the 120 days that Tyler received !!!!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Don't read much, do you? Totally diffrent set of circumstances than Tyler's.
Greg More than 1 year ago
Good luck G Money sounds like ur being very honest with everything, ur triple crown mount will come again.
Steve Reed More than 1 year ago
This is a "rare Talent" who has relapsed into substance abuse. One of the strongest closers down the lane ever. I believe he still holds the all time record of (76) stakes wins in a season. The only Jock with "Blame" to fend off Zenyatta in the Breeders Cup Classic. He needs support not taunts and heckling.
Steve Motors More than 1 year ago
throw it all away for a bottle of booze pathetic
Vince More than 1 year ago
I'm Steve Motors and I am perfect
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
That Doctor is one of the best in the world; At least its in competent hands
Bob Rose More than 1 year ago
Take a shorter hold on the snide comments you release to the public after meeting with the stewards jock. .A tongue tie might even serve you better...jus sayin...