07/27/2013 7:28PM

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

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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.