03/19/2010 12:00AM

Gomez heading to Kentucky next


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Garrett Gomez, who led the nation's riders in earnings last year, will spend the spring riding in Kentucky and the summer in New Jersey or New York, his agent, Ron Anderson, said Friday.

Gomez, who won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding rider of 2007 and 2008, plans to ride at Santa Anita through early April. He will ride at Keeneland in April, beginning the week of April 5, and ride at Churchill Downs in May and June before considering a move to Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Anderson said.

Anderson said it was unclear how long Gomez would ride at the Churchill Downs spring-summer meeting before moving to the New York-New Jersey area.

"We're going to explore staying at Churchill Downs and have the option of Monmouth or Saratoga," he said.

Monmouth Park announced this year that it will have an overnight purse distribution of approximately $1 million per day for its 50-day meeting, which will run from May 22 to Sept. 6.

Anderson said Gomez would probably ride at Keeneland and Churchill Downs in the fall. Churchill Downs is hosting the Breeders' Cup in November.

"We'll see how things are going," Anderson said. "This is a different time for our industry in terms of where horses will be running."

Gomez would occasionally ride in California after early April, appearing in major stakes, Anderson said.

Gomez, 38, rode in Southern California throughout 2009, but in past years has followed a plan similar to this year's, riding in California in the winter and moving to Kentucky and New York from April to early November.

Gomez, his wife, and their two children have a home near Santa Anita. Through Thursday, Gomez was fourth in the standings at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting with 39 wins, but was second in number of stakes wins at the meeting, with 7.

Next Saturday, he will be away from Santa Anita. Gomez is booked to ride Richard's Kid in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Skipshot giving Santa Anita Derby a try

Skipshot, an improving son of Skip Away who is 3 for 3 at Golden Gate since transferring to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, was scheduled to ship to Santa Anita on Friday to prepare for the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

"We think he deserves a chance," Hollendorfer said. "He handled his first route race, and we're very pleased with the progress he has made."

Skipshot stretched out for the first time in a one-mile allowance March 14 and won by a nose, earning a 93 Beyer. It was his third straight win; he lost all three starts at 2.

Though his class is undefined, Skipshot could fall into a good trip in the derby. Sidney's Candy, the likely favorite, is the lone front-runner in the expected field of 10. The tactical speed of Skipshot could allow him to be positioned alone in second. In order to win the Santa Anita Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race, all Skipshot must do is outrun the pacesetter. Not easy.

"There aren't many horses running past Sidney's Candy lately," Hollendorfer said.

Skipshot is owned by Olympia Star Inc. The group also owns Santa Margarita runner-up Dance to My Tune.

The expected field for the Santa Anita Derby includes Sidney's Candy, Caracortado, Alphie's Bet, Setsuko, Thomas Baines, Outlaw Man, Posse Power, Skipshot, Who's Up, and Cardiff Giant.

The California Horse Racing Board filed an objection with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court on Thursday, arguing that Magna Entertainment, the parent company of Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, owes more than $3 million to satellite facilities in the state.

The contested sum was being held by Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in March 2009, when Magna Entertainment declared bankruptcy.

Magna Entertainment has classified the satellite facilities and the organizations that operate the parimutuel side of those businesses - Southern California Off-Track Wagering Inc., and Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. - as unsecured creditors in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, according to a statement released by the racing board Thursday. The racing board contends those organizations are entitled to a full recovery of the funds.

"We anticipated all along that the court would fully honor these statutory obligations, but the MEC reorganization plan would result in California horse racing's satellite operations receiving pennies on the dollar," racing board chairman Keith Brackpool said in a prepared statement. "That clearly is unacceptable. This involves more than $3 million, which California horse racing desperately needs."

The racing board said funds owed to the satellites since the Magna bankruptcy have been paid in a "timely manner."

- additional reporting by Brad Free