03/20/2012 2:44PM

Santa Anita: Gomez takes another shot at comeback from injury

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Garrett Gomez will try to return from a heel injury Thursday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – After an aborted comeback attempt March 9, jockey Garrett Gomez is scheduled to return to action Thursday at Santa Anita. He has two mounts, on Kelly Leak in the fifth race and Rauschenberg in the seventh, and if he rides both horses, it will be the most action he’s had since breaking the heel in his left foot Jan. 8.

Gomez tried to ride March 9, but had so much pain in the foot that he bowed out after one ride. The extra two weeks were beneficial, according to his agent, Tony Matos, who has an ambitious spring schedule for his rider.

Gomez will be at Keeneland when that meet opens April 6, Matos said, and he will be doing quite a bit of flying for stakes around the country.

“Garrett is looking forward to being back. It’s been 11 weeks,” Matos said. “We’re going to Keeneland because all the better horses are going to be there. I’ve got a bunch of calls from a lot of different trainers.”

Out of Bounds recuperating

Gomez is presently without a top Kentucky Derby contender, both because of his injury and the injury suffered by Out of Bounds, whom Gomez rode to victory in the Sham Stakes the day before his accident.

Out of Bounds suffered a fracture to his left front cannon bone in a workout March 5 while preparing for the San Felipe Stakes. He had surgery and is housed, for now, at the Hollywood Park barn of his trainer, Eoin Harty.

“We just took the stitches out yesterday,” Harty said Tuesday morning. “He needed three screws, but the fracture was so well aligned it was fairly straightforward as those things go, like going to Jiffy Lube. All surgery is risky, but this wasn’t that complex.”

Harty said Out of Bounds will be sent to Darley in Kentucky, likely before the end of the month, and would do the bulk of his recuperation there. He is expected to race again.

◗ Creative Cause, in his first drill since winning the San Felipe, worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park for trainer Mike Harrington. His next scheduled start is the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. The time equaled the best of 29 at the distance Tuesday.

◗ Liaison, who was fourth in the San Felipe, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert, who said Liaison will remain home for the Santa Anita Derby.

◗ Bejarano is not riding on Thursday, the final day of a three-day suspension for careless riding in the sixth race on March 10.

◗ Santa Anita will offer free general admission on Fridays for the rest of the meet, beginning this Friday.