08/06/2013 11:35AM

Del Mar: Gomez still not cleared by stewards to work, ride horses

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez has yet to receive approval from the stewards to resume riding in races and working horses.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Jockey Garrett Gomez was removed Tuesday from his scheduled mounts for the Wednesday card at Del Mar and was not permitted to work horses Tuesday morning, owing to his not having satisfied requirements set forth last week by the California Horse Racing Board, a CHRB spokesman said.

“He has not been approved,” racing board spokesman Mike Marten said on Tuesday. “The stewards and the investigators have not received everything required.”

Gomez has ridden only a handful of days the past two months, citing family problems and treatment for alcoholism. He was named to ride horses earlier in the meet, but the stewards said he would not be allowed to ride until he met with them. In a meeting last Friday with Del Mar’s stewards – Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward – Gomez was given provisional approval to ride beginning Wednesday, pending the results of a urine test as well as other paperwork requested by the racing board.

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

On Tuesday morning, scratch time for Wednesday’s races, he was removed from his three mounts. Gomez is named on three horses on Thursday. Scratch time for that card is Wednesday morning.

Gomez last week told the stewards he had been given a prescription for antidepressants as part of his treatment for alcoholism. He said he was in the process of reducing the dosage.

Gomez was scheduled to submit to a urine test Sunday, and stewards said that if that test showed a higher-than-expected level for the antidepressants, his comeback could be delayed.

Gomez, 41, has not ridden this meet. He first took off his mounts at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 13, citing the need to spend time with his family and that he was working through issues related to his marriage. He recently said he and his wife, Pam, are in the process of divorcing.

Gomez returned to ride at Hollywood Park from July 11-14, but took off his mounts at Del Mar on opening day July 17, and then was removed from his mounts July 18-20 when he was absent and did not contact the stewards. As a result of those actions, Gomez was given a $1,000 fine by the stewards following their meeting last week.

Gomez, who has been in recovery for drugs and alcohol for a decade, said he had a relapse of drinking earlier this summer and had subsequently sought treatment for it. Stewards ruled that in order for Gomez to return, he had to check in daily with racing board investigators, would be subject to random drug testing, and had to enter into a counseling session with the Winner’s Foundation, which aids people in horse racing in Southern California with substance-abuse issues.

At the meeting with the stewards last week, Bob Fletcher of the Winner’s Foundation said Gomez also was to begin treatment with Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist in Newport Beach, Calif., who specializes in substance-abuse issues, mental health, and nutrition. One of the requirements stewards set forth for Gomez to return was written documentation from Amen that Gomez was fit to ride.
– additional reporting by Steve Andersen