02/12/2012 4:13PM

Santa Anita: Gomez hopes to return for Santa Anita Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Garrett Gomez hopes to resume race riding by March 3.

Garrett Gomez, sidelined since Jan. 8 with a heel injury, has targeted the Santa Anita Handicap program on March 3 for a comeback, he said Sunday.

Gomez spent Sunday morning at Clocker’s Corner, a popular gathering point at Santa Anita, visiting with friends. Walking with crutches, Gomez said he started more extensive physical activity over the weekend, including swimming and riding a stationary bicycle. He began a physical therapy regiment in late January.

“We’re targeting for the third [of March)], and if we can’t, we’ll make it for the next weekend,” he said of his comeback date.

Gomez said he has a doctor’s appointment later this month and hopes to gain the freedom to do more exercising at that time.

“It feels good to get out of bed,” he said. “Hopefully in two weeks, I’ll be jogging.”

Gomez, 40, injured his left ankle and heel when he was unseated in an accident near the paddock at Santa Anita on Jan. 8 and had 10 screws and a plate inserted to stabilize the injury. The cast was removed in late January.

A return on March 3 would allow Gomez to return to ride on one of the biggest days of the Santa Anita meeting. On March 10, Gomez hopes to ride Out of Bounds in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles.