05/09/2012 2:43PM

Woodbine: Bahen honored with Avelino Gomez Award


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Steven Bahen, who rode his first winner here at Woodbine in 1986 and has been a steady presence here through the ensuing campaigns, has been named this year’s winner of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.

Bahen, 46, will become the 28th recipient of the award, which honors the memory of Avelino Gomez, who died following a three-horse spill in the 1980 Woodbine Oaks.

A life-size statue of Gomez overlooks Woodbine’s walking ring and a miniature is presented to each recipient on Woodbine Oaks Day, which this year will be June 3.

The award is for a current or former rider who was Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or competed in Canada for a minimum of five years and has made significant contributions to the sport.

Bahen had ridden 1,234 winners heading into Wednesday night’s card here with his mounts having earned more than $41.5 million.

He has won 62 stakes with such horses as T J’s Lucky Moon, who scored at 82-1 here in the 2002 Queen’s Plate; Silent Fleet, in the 1996 Woodbine Oaks; and John the Magician, in the 1997 Breeders’ .

He also rode Le Cinquieme Essai through his last 20 starts and won six stakes on Le Cinquieme Essai, including back-to-back runnings of the Grade 2 Play the King here at Woodbine.

Bahen is one of five Gomez Award winners who remain active. The others are David Clark, Emile Ramsammy, and Richard Dos Ramos, all of whom are based here at Woodbine, and Stewart Elliott, who is riding in Philadelphia.