11/11/2010 3:59PM

Gomez flies to California to have shoulder examined


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Garrett Gomez was scheduled to see an orthopedic specialist in Los Angeles on Thursday regarding his injured right shoulder, which has kept the star jockey from riding since he was aboard Blame in their dramatic victory over Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last weekend at Churchill Downs.

Gomez had an appointment with Dr. James Tibone at the renowned Kerlan-Jobe sports medicine clinic to determine what treatment, if any, his shoulder may require. Gomez injured the shoulder in a Nov. 4 spill at Churchill but was able to fulfill most of his mounts the next two days, including all eight of his mounts in the Breeders’ Cup. He took off his scheduled mounts at Churchill on the Sunday after the Breeders’ Cup.

“He’s still having some problems,” said Gomez’s agent, Ron Anderson. “It’s actually a little better, but it’s still giving him enough pain that he needs to have it looked at.”

Gomez had planned to ride the balance of the Churchill fall meet that runs through Nov. 28, but “obviously we’re going to have to see what the doctor says,” said Anderson. After Churchill, Gomez had intended to “maybe spot-ride in some stakes” before riding regularly at the Santa Anita meet that begins Dec. 26.

Gomez said after the Classic that he could barely lift his right arm because of the shoulder but that he was determined to compete despite the pain. His strong and skillful ride aboard Blame has been credited for helping the colt to narrowly hold off the onrushing Zenyatta.

Gomez, 38, won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top jockey at the Breeders’ Cup for a record fourth time last weekend. Besides the Classic on Blame, he also won the Juvenile Fillies Turf aboard More Than Real and the Juvenile Turf on Pluck. Gomez is a two-time Eclipse Award winner with more than 3,400 career wins and $175 million in mount earnings.

Torres has knee surgery

Jockey Francisco Torres underwent knee surgery Tuesday at a Louisville hospital and will be out for an indefinite period before returning to action at Fair Grounds or Tampa Bay Downs over the winter.

Torres, 41, said he had a cyst removed from a knee that had become so bothersome that “I had to stop riding to have it taken care of,” he said. Torres added he is scheduled to see his doctor Monday regarding post-surgical rehabilitation and a time frame on when he will be able to return.

Torres last rode on Oct. 22 at Hoosier Park, where he was the second-leading rider. He has won nearly 2,400 races for mount earnings of more than $46 million.

A winner by any name

A filly named Kimber Lily won the first race here Wednesday, but the horse was not named for the wife of the jockey – although Robby Albarado couldn’t help but get a kick out of what a coincidence it was.

“There aren’t a whole lot of people or horses named ‘Kimber,’ ” he noted. “Kind of cool, I thought.”

Robby and Kimber Albarado live in Louisville with their three young children. The filly Kimber Lily, owned by Gene Phelps and trained by Kellyn Gorder, easily won the maiden-claiming route, helping Albarado maintain his early lead atop the Churchill jockey standings.

Cowboy Jones to ride Saturday

Jockey R.A. “Cowboy” Jones is scheduled to make his first appearance at Churchill in more than six years when he climbs aboard longshot Aamra in the fifth race Saturday.

Jones, 67, last rode at Churchill on Nov. 10, 2004. He has ridden sparingly at other tracks in the interim while working primarily as an exercise rider at Ellis Park in western Kentucky. Jones last won a race at the 2004 fall meet at Turfway Park. His first win came in 1959.

◗ With a noon Eastern kickoff for the South Florida-Louisville football game Saturday at nearby Papa John’s Stadium, racing fans looking to avoid traffic are advised not to use Central Ave. and other roads in proximity to the stadium.