08/07/2013 2:24PM

Del Mar: Gomez taken off his Thursday mounts


DEL MAR, Calif. – Jockey Garrett Gomez was removed from his scheduled three mounts for Thursday’s program at Del Mar on Wednesday after he was unable to meet requirements stated by the California Horse Racing Board regarding his treatment for alcoholism. He had been removed from his Wednesday mounts on Tuesday.

Gomez was unable to provide a doctor’s clearance allowing him to ride and showed an excessive level of antidepressants in a urine test taken Monday, according to steward Tom Ward.

Gomez has conditional approval to ride Friday and was scheduled to be named on the same basis for Saturday’s program when entries were taken Wednesday, Ward said. It is possible that the 41-year-old jockey could return to riding as early as Friday.

Ward said Wednesday that Gomez could present the required documents to the racing board “hopefully in the next day or two at the latest.”

He said the jockey was undergoing counseling for substance abuse and mental health with a psychiatrist in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday.

“Whether he gets clearance, I don’t know,” Ward said.

Gomez did not return text messages left for him on Wednesday.

Gomez has not ridden since July 14 and has ridden on only four days since June 9. Gomez said he recently underwent treatment for alcoholism and took time off to deal with family problems. On July 28, Gomez said that he is separated from his wife, Pam, and that divorce proceedings are under way.

Gomez met with stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Ward on Aug. 2 to discuss his return to riding.

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-08, Gomez was told that he needed doctor’s clearance to resume riding and that his level of antidepressants needed to be at “baseline levels” acceptable for athletic activity, the stewards said. Gomez told the stewards on Aug. 2 that he was reducing his dosage of antidepressants.

Gomez has undergone four urine tests since Aug. 2. The most recent results were from Monday’s test, which showed elevated levels of antidepressants. The results of Tuesday’s urine test, the most recent one Gomez submitted, were not available Wednesday, Ward said.
When he does return, Gomez will be lacking one of his top mounts from earlier this year.

Trainer Richard Mandella said Wednesday that Gomez is “not likely” to have the mount on Beholder, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, when she returns from a summer rest in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes on Sept. 1.

Gomez has been Beholder’s only rider in a nine-race career that includes five wins and earnings of $1,765,000.