07/12/2013 4:32PM

Hollywood Park: Gomez back in saddle and looking toward Del Mar

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez resumed riding at Hollywood Park on Thursday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Garrett Gomez resumed riding at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday, a month after he took a sabbatical from racing to spend time with his family.

Though winless with two mounts on Thursday’s eight-race program, Gomez said he was encouraged by the way he felt and is ready to resume riding on a full-time basis when the Del Mar meeting begins Wednesday.

“I’m glad to be back in action and doing what I do,” he said.

Gomez rode at Hollywood Park on June 9, but took off his mounts June 13, citing the need to spend time with his family. On his Twitter feed, Gomez told his followers a week later that was working on his marriage with his wife, Pam.

Thursday, he said that he and his wife have stayed together and that his time off was “good.”

“It’s working with my wife and family,” he said. “It’s personal business.

“It’s typical married life. You have your ups and downs. Everybody goes through it.”

While away, some of Gomez’s previous mounts won major races, notably Chief Havoc in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes on July 4. The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-08, Gomez, 41, approaches a Del Mar meeting this summer seeking to secure his position among the circuit’s leading riders on the calendar’s most competitive meeting.

Last year at Del Mar, Gomez won 39 races, including three stakes. Exceeding those totals is a goal for him.

“I’d like to get the horses back, get some stakes horses, and get some stakes wins,” he said. “I’m excited to get down there. We work twice as hard and we play twice as hard. It’s a lot of fun.”