07/27/2013 7:28PM

Del Mar: Gomez hopes to return after 'slip,' treatment for alcohol

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez has ridden for only four days since June 9.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Jockey Garrett Gomez, who has ridden on only four days since June 9, said on Saturday that he recently sought treatment for alcoholism and plans to meet with Del Mar stewards on Sunday in an effort to resume riding as early as next week.

In a telephone interview on Saturday afternoon, Gomez, 41, said he “had a slip and took care of it.”

He said he sought treatment at a facility in Cerritos, Calif., where he received counseling “from a psychologist, a doctor and a social worker. I’m out and I feel good.”

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

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-2008, Gomez admitted that he had a recent episode of drinking, an issue that plagued his career in the early 2000s. He said that he chose to seek treatment the morning after he consumed alcohol.

“I knew where it took me I and I didn’t want it to take me out of control,” he said, referring to alcohol problems earlier in his life.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t try to ride drunk. I didn’t show up at the track drunk. I woke up and went and tried to take care of it.

“I knew what I had to do and I wanted to get some help.”

Gomez rode at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 9, but took off his mounts on June 13, citing the need 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.

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

Del Mar steward Tom Ward said on July 18 that Gomez would not be permitted to ride until he met with him and fellow stewards Scott Chaney and Kim Sawyer. The meeting is expected to take place on Sunday morning.

Gomez said on Saturday that he would ask Bob Fletcher of the Winner’s Foundation, which assists people in racing with substance abuse problems, to accompany him to the meeting with track stewards.

“I think they want to see the whites of my eyes,” he said.

Gomez said on Saturday that he is eager to return to riding, and would like to begin exercising horses in coming days to regain fitness.

“I would like to get on a couple of horses on Wednesday,” he said.

Denny More than 1 year ago
Don't post if you do not understand that addiction is a disease just like any other disease. Garrett is a tremendous jockey who has positively contributed to his sport. If he had cancer would your insensitivity still be as great! His disease of addiction does not define him, his personal achievements do.
Hendrix T. More than 1 year ago
Don't be ignorant! It's not a disease like cancer or heart failure! People can control their addictions! First it is important to understand that the disease theory is just that - a theory. Additionally, it is important to understand that this theory is only accepted as fact by the rehab, rehabilitation, and treatment industry here in the United States. The rest of the world considers the disease theory for alcoholism pure bunk. Now if someone was intoxicated and killed some innocent by standard & if someone had congestive heart failure who do you think the jury would find guilty? That's right the alcoholic would be charged with manslaughter. Now why would this be if alcoholism is a disease?
Tom Fritzsche More than 1 year ago
Unlike all other bodily organs, the brain controls all of those organs..... and our thought. The brain is unique this way and alcohol has incredibly influential effects on it, just as alcohol does on the liver. So as the brain is a different organ than the rest, so too are the addictions that affect it.
Denny More than 1 year ago
Yes it would and no you have not done your homework on addiction.
Hendrix T. More than 1 year ago
Intoxicated while driving.
Hendrix T. More than 1 year ago
I say put these addicted jockeys in a room with Jeff Mullins & let him tear them apart! Stop with the drinking already...no excuses....life is not that complicated!
Mark Whalen More than 1 year ago
P. Val was able to come back, with success, multiple times. Hopefully, Garrett won't need as many chances.
Peter Cimino More than 1 year ago
We're all missing the main point,it's not just the alcoholic but the drugs that he is not admitting to.Until he does that he will never be free.Let's hope he can move forward and not become another Kent Desormeaux where we say there hall of famers but.Good luck Garrett Your the only one who can help yourself.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Keep going forward!
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Garrett can ride anything but he excels on a grass horse coming from behind. He can get more acceleration out of a horse than any other rider I've ever seen. Alcohol is brutally addicting for some. Garrett is a very bright guy. It sounds like he is quite aware and respects his addiction. I only hope he will find the inner strength and support needed to maintain sobriety..
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
My Prayers are with Garrett. Very Sad.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
There is nothing wrong in any profession with having a beer or two, a glass of wine or two at dinner time or just at home relaxing. But missing work, or a wake up call, an appointment where you are suppose to be. Houston, now there is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately regardless of what your name is and how good people think you are. This game and everything else in this game doesn't need stories like this........ Garrett , stay sober, do what you have to do to come back.. Alcohol does not relieve pressure as someone says..........
EngelhardtJohn More than 1 year ago
If you read his book "A Jockey's Journey Through Addiction & Salvation" you will know he has been through hell and back. It sounds like he took quick action when he got back to old habits. I pray he makes it. Garrett is a class act and knows how to ride in the "Big Ones." I believe he has the most Breeders' Cup wins.
Keith Valentine More than 1 year ago
He is third with 13 behind Jerry B (15) and Mike Smith (17)
Csun More than 1 year ago
IMO, it seems like Gomez's career has taken a slide since he parted ways with super-agent Ron Anderson in April 2011. Maybe the pressure of cranking out $20 million plus in race earnings got to him. His riding seems to have suffered as he's ridden lesser stock as well. I hope that Gomez is able to get his life back in order.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Wish Garrett Gomez all the best with his demons. A great rider and, the one time I met and had a chance to talk with him, a true gentleman. Who among us has not had a slip at one time or another? I hope the stewards will take that into account and let the punishment fit the crime. Racing is better off when Garrett is riding!
Harry More than 1 year ago
GOGO my heart is out to you to whip this demon again you are a terrific person and father plus a great rider!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you the best my friend!!!!