10/10/2013 1:52PM

Santa Anita: Gomez taken off all mounts

Barbara D. Livingston
Garrett Gomez will be unable to ride until he meets with Santa Anita's stewards to explain why he failed to show up for Thursday's program.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Garrett Gomez, who missed part of the summer while dealing with issues related to alcoholism, took off his mounts at Santa Anita on Thursday, and was later removed from his mounts for the rest of the racing week by track stewards, pending a hearing regarding his absence.

Gomez’s agent, Tony Matos, met with track stewards at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the situation. Matos later that said Gomez sent him a text message on Thursday morning, stating, “Take me off the horses. I’m not going to ride for the time being.”

There was some discussion on the backstretch that Gomez is even contemplating retirement. Asked about that possibility, Matos said, “I can’t retire him. That’s his decision.”

Gomez did not respond to two phone calls and a text message seeking comment on Thursday morning.

Track steward Tom Ward said on Thursday that Gomez “will not ride in the foreseeable future. He has to come in and talk to us and say how he wants to continue.”

Gomez was booked to ride from Thursday through Saturday. Entries for Sunday’s program were taken on Thursday, but Gomez was not permitted to be named.

Gomez, 41 missed most of June and July because of alcoholism and personal issues. During the summer, he candidly stated that he had resumed drinking alcohol after abstaining for nearly a decade.

When he returned to riding at Del Mar in early August, Gomez was bound by a conditional license issued by the California Horse Racing Board that required random substance abuse testing and counseling.

Earlier in his career, Gomez dealt with substance abuse issues that curtailed his riding career in 2003 and 2004.

Gomez has not ridden since Oct. 5 at Keeneland. He was booked to ride at Santa Anita on Sunday, but contacted track officials that morning to say that he had missed a flight from Kentucky.

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider in 2007-08, Gomez underwent counseling in late July and early August before being cleared to resume riding at Del Mar. Prior to that comeback, Gomez rode only four days from June 9 through July 14, citing family issues as the reason for a lengthy absence in June.

At the current Santa Anita autumn meeting, Gomez has won 3 races from 24 mounts.

Byrama headed to Keeneland sale

Byrama, the winner of the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, will not start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 and will be sold at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale on Nov. 5, trainer Simon Callaghan said on Thursday.

A 4-year-old British-bred filly by Byron, Byrama will be offered as a racing or broodmare prospect. Byrama was sixth in the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland last Sunday.

“We left her there in Kentucky,” Callaghan said. “She came out of the race great. She had a long season.”

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Byrama has won 5 of 23 starts and earned $546,667. Since the Vanity Handicap, Byrama is winless in three starts, including a troubled third in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 3 and seventh against males in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25.

Aside from the Vanity, Byrama won two minor sprint stakes on turf in Southern California –the Manhattan Beach Stakes at Hollywood Park and Unzip Me Stakes at Santa Anita in 2012.

Decision on Amazombie due in January

The direction of the racing career of Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, will be determined this fall.

Trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr said earlier this week that Amazombie is currently walking under tack at Santa Anita and that a decision on his career will be made by January.

“We’ll wait until the end of the year and decide,” Spawr said. “If there is any doubt, we’ll stop. I’m optimistic, with a question. He’s been so good to us.”

Co-owned by Tom Sanford, Amazombie, 7, has won 12 of 29 starts and earned $1,920,378

Sprouts needs time to recuperate

Sprouts, the winner of two sprint stakes earlier this year, is out of training but may return by the end of the year, owner and breeder Paul Reddam said earlier this month.

“She’s had stifle problems,” Reddam said. “If she makes it back, it will be by the end of the year. We’ll get her right.”

By freshman stallion Square Eddie, Sprouts has won 3 of 5 starts and earned $149,490. Trained by Edward Freeman, Sprouts won the Cinderella Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in June and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar in July. Sprouts was eighth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 31, and has not worked since that race.