07/28/2013 7:02PM

Del Mar: Gomez to meet with track stewards again Friday

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez has not ridden since July 14.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Garrett Gomez, who has not ridden since July 14 after saying he underwent treatment for alcoholism earlier this month, is scheduled to meet with Del Mar stewards on Friday for the second time in a week before he will be permitted to resume riding, steward Tom Ward said.

While Gomez said he would like to make an immediate return to riding, he is not likely to do so until Aug. 7 at the earliest. By Friday’s meeting, entries will have been taken at Del Mar for the racing week that concludes on Sunday. Entries for the Aug. 7 program will be taken on Saturday.

Ward said that Gomez’s reinstatement depends on Friday’s meeting “and if everything falls into place.” The meeting originally was scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed to Friday.

On Sunday morning, Gomez met with stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Ward for more than an hour to discuss the circumstances of his absence from riding since July 14. Gomez told the stewards that he underwent counseling after consuming alcohol July 16, a relapse of an issue that plagued his career in the early 2000s.

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At Friday’s meeting, Gomez will be expected to provide documentation regarding his recent in-house treatment for alcoholism at a facility in Cerritos, Calif., provide documentation regarding recent prescriptions from doctors, and show proof that he has started counseling with the Winners Foundation, which assists people in Southern California horse racing with substance-abuse problems, Ward said.

“We’ve asked him for information that we can look at,” Ward said. He said the stewards are seeking “assurance that the medicines won’t interfere with [Gomez’s] work.”

Gomez said Sunday that he has been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication and medication for detoxification.

It was unclear Sunday what other terms Gomez must meet to return to riding, such as an agreement for random drug and alcohol testing. Gomez said that stewards asked him to submit to urine and Breathalyzer tests Sunday.

“They want to me jump through some hoops,” Gomez said. “I was truthful. I’m an alcoholic. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t ride drunk. I didn’t get arrested. I went and got help. I have a past, but I didn’t break any rules. I’m getting penalized for it, and I’m sad about it. I’ll do whatever they want.”

Gomez expressed frustration that his return to riding could be delayed until the second week of August, saying he has support from trainers who could provide immediate mounts.

“I missed the first part of the meeting, and I’m paying for messing that up,” he said. “I think a lot of guys are waiting for me.”

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-08, Gomez, 41, took off his mounts at Betfair Hollywood Park 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.

On Sunday, Gomez said he is separated from his wife, Pam, and that divorce proceedings are under way. The couple has two children.

“It’s time to move on,” he said of his marriage.

Gomez returned to ride for a four-day span at Hollywood Park from July 11-14 but took off his mounts 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.

He said Sunday that he had begun drinking earlier in the summer.

“I had a few drinks,” he said of his behavior on July 16. “I’m an alcoholic. I had started drinking a bit before that. I knew I needed to get help, and I did.”

stev lauria More than 1 year ago
GO GO, Your are the best at what you do, don't let anyone tell you different, you can beat this demon, you've beaten worse than this before. Looking forward to seeing you back in the winners circle where you belong, take care my friend, hope to see you soon, Stevie Saratoga Springs, NY
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!
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Play the song at meeting, promises, promises, jocks get multi chances, if Tyler Baze got 120 days for a beer, what does this bozo deserve ? COMPARE , sun ruling !!
Danny Utt More than 1 year ago
So sad I've been there wish him the best
William Tate More than 1 year ago
yeah, a double whammy--alcohol and marriage breakup.
laurel More than 1 year ago
Pat the quack might be back before him and he told the truth,Pat doesn't know what the truth is and he will be back sooner,that would drive anyone to drink
Horse 2win More than 1 year ago
Garrett, the road here on out is strictly up to you. Reach out to successful people who have been battling such things with success such as Jerry Bailey, he will offer constructive suggestions to get you through tough times, have him on speed dial and listen. When you are clean you are awesome, your riding gets better, your personal life gets better, everything just gets better, take it from one who knows first hand, don't use & go to meetings is the first step, everything else will come in time. Should you not believe this, just believe that I do, best of luck my brother the best is yet to come if you stay clean & nothing but destruction comes from using. Three things can happen when you use, institutions, jails or you die, believe that, good luck and get direction from people that have been there, they can & will help.
William Tate More than 1 year ago
good advice.
MT_Black More than 1 year ago
He shouldn't be punished for recognizing a lapse in judgement and getting an assist. He will get immediate mounts and win. There may not be a better rider in the final furlong of a race. Go GOGO. Hooch if you want dude. We all have our vices... thats why we are here.
William Tate More than 1 year ago
His mounts should be worth a few bets when he gets back in the saddle.
Robert Huggar More than 1 year ago
Garrett Gomez is one of the worlds best riders in the business. I will be happy when he is back in the saddle and riding like his old self. I predict he will be in the top five rider standings during the fall and winter meets in Southern California. GO Gomez you have my utmost respect and support!
Walter More than 1 year ago
It's a bit troubling to read Gomez' words, it doesn't seem that he has taken full responsibility for what he has done. I agree the stewards have no right to determine a person's personal life, but a precedent has been set. Tyler was given 120 days, PVal has numerous suspensions, now Gomez needs to be on the same program. He should be regularly tested going forward.
MT_Black More than 1 year ago
No way you really think thats ok. Nobody should be tested for anything by an employer. Let him ride. He is better than 90 % of the jocks riding at the meet. You want the speed bias to go away....let GOGO ride some horses.
Walter More than 1 year ago
MT, As mentioned before, I don't think the stewards should determine a jockey's personal life. I didn't agree w the 120 days they gave Tyler. But now a precedent has been set, so Gomez will have to abide by it also. He cannot be given an exception.
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
He is admitting he is an alcoholic, went and got help before he did something really stupid. Not sure what responsibility you want him to take. He made the right decisions and is being penalized for it. Basically the stewards are saying if you have a drinking and/or drug problem you are better off riding until you get caught because you are getting punished either way.
Luis Chiari More than 1 year ago
You are a hell of a good rider!, and you deserve better than be under the slavery of alcoholism, we certainty will have you in our prayers, so that you will be back on the saddle to keep giving us excitment and joy at the track. Look up at the sky and ask for strength to the big guy up there.