09/23/2004 11:00PM

Gomez to spend weekend in jail

Jockey Garrett Gomez will miss 13 mounts from Thursday to Sunday.

POMONA, Calif. - Garrett Gomez's comeback has hit a snag, and instead of riding the closing-weekend race cards at the Los Angeles County Fair, he will spend the weekend in the Orange County jail.

According to his agent, Jim Pegram, Gomez was on "probation hold" in Orange County because of a miscommunication with a probation officer. Pegram and track stewards say they do not believe Gomez is in trouble, and Pegram expects the matter to be resolved early next week.

"It's unfortunate, but there is nothing we can get done until we see the judge Monday morning," Pegram said Friday. "If he had done something, I'd be worried, but he'll be all right. He's complied with everything."

Gomez resumed riding Sept. 10 after being away from the sport since December 2002 while he battled substance-abuse and personal problems. Because of run-ins with law officers during his time away, Gomez was required to meet regularly with various probation officers. The Orange County probation office with which Gomez was required to be in contact did not have a record of recent communication, according to Pegram.

Gomez missed two mounts Thursday. He was also to miss three mounts Friday, including Lady Thatcher in the $100,000 Las Madrinas Handicap; five mounts Saturday, including We All Love Aleyna in the $100,000 Pomona Derby; and three mounts Sunday. Gomez, 32, won four races from 30 mounts at the Los Angeles County Fair meet. His conditional license requires random drug-testing and hair-follicle testing.

Cohen sets sights on Eclipse

The clock is ticking for 20-year-old apprentice rider David Cohen, who won his fifth race Thursday at Fairplex Park on the claiming sprinter Dinner at Ago's in race 10. Cohen and agent Harry Hacek now have one year to achieve a lofty goal - the 2005 Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice.

"It's a far stretch from your fifth win to an Eclipse, but I've never seen a jock so determined in my life," said Hacek, who has represented jockeys such as Eddie Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens, and Steve Cauthen.

Cohen's apprenticeship ends Sept. 23, 2005, which is the one-year anniversary of his fifth win. Cohen will battle Alex Bisono for leading apprentice honors when the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita begins Wednesday. Cohen, who won his first career race Aug. 11 at Del Mar, will be busy over the fall and winter. In addition to riding the fall and winter meets at Santa Anita, and Hollywood fall, Cohen will ride Mondays and Tuesdays at Turf Paradise. Through Thursday, Cohen had won 3 of 29 mounts at Fairplex Park.

Bisono captures first stakes

Bisono scored the first stakes win of his career Tuesday, when he rode Madringa to a 7 3/4-length victory in the $58,200 Bangles and Beads Stakes. The win by Madringa ($12.40) was also the first stakes victory for trainer Carlton Robbins. Madringa earned a 97 Beyer Figure. Mazella finished second, a length in front of even-money favorite Honeypenny. Bisono, who missed three days in the middle of the meet with a suspension, had 5 wins from 34 mounts heading into the Friday card.

Race may be local finale for Islander

A crowd favorite since his career began five years ago in northern California, Islander could be racing at Fairplex for the final time when he runs for a $10,000 claim tag the eighth race Sunday. A 9-year-old, Islander already has won more money ($469,124), more races (19), and made more starts (52) than any Thoroughbred on the closing-day card. Islander won a $5,000 claimer by nearly six lengths Sept. 11, and owner Paul Valencia and trainer Jeff Metz won the three-way shake for the horse.

"We knew it was a risk, but [Valencia] just really liked the horse," said Metz, adding that Valencia has talked about Islander standing at stud after his racing career.

Islander has a bowed tendon, but, Metz said, "It's holding up, and at the right level they can keep right on going."

A chestnut sired by Rubiano, Islander was acting playful and nipping at visitors in his stall Friday morning, but Sunday he will have his game face on. Isaias Enriquez rides Islander in the six-furlong race, in which he faces favorite Excessive Hayate. Metz is the 11th trainer for Islander, who has won at Golden Gate, Stockton, Pleasanton, Bay Meadows, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, and Fairplex Park.

Stute adds to his record

Trainer Mel Stute extended his all-time leading Fairplex stakes total to 43 on Wednesday, when Kachina's Dream ($8) won the $58,200 Black Swan Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 3 1/4 lengths over Irish Mafia. Odds-on Cherokee Spires finished fifth in the 1 1/16-mile race. Matt Garcia rode Kachina's Dream, who earned a 60 Beyer.

Stute said Kachina's Dream would aim for the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 16 at Santa Anita, and the colt Nickel Silver would point for the $125,000 Cal Cup Juvenile. Nickel Silver won a six-furlong maiden race Thursday with a 62 Beyer.

Big win for The Wizard Rocks

The Wizard Rocks ($6.20) was a maiden going into the $58,200 Gateway to Glory Stakes on Thursday. After his 9 1/4-length win in the 1 1/16-mile race, he figures to be a contender in the Cal Cup Juvenile. Trained by Daniel Dunham, The Wizard Rocks gave Martin Pedroza his third win of the day and his 41st win of the meet. Heading into the Friday card, with three racing days remaining, Pedroza was seven wins behind the single-season record of 48. The Wizard Rocks earned a 59 Beyer in his win.

Holy Request finally scores

Holy Request has been the busiest horse in the Los Angeles County Fair. Racing for the fourth time at the meet, she finally won a maiden race Thursday, when she got up by a nose in race 6. Trained by Barry Abrams, Holy Request was 0 for 25 going into the $20,000 maiden claimer. Ridden by Bisono, Holy Request paid $4.60.