Thursday, January 1, 2009

Narrow Miss for Gomez in Earnings Chase

GOOD LUCK!! and have A GREAT DAY!!!

by Jack Shinar

Garrett Gomez made a valiant effort to break the record for purse earnings in a year when he won with his first three mounts at Santa Anita Dec. 31. But in the one race he had to win, the $76,400 Kalookan Queen Handicap, the 2007 Eclipse Award-winning jockey finished third aboard Baroness Thatcher.

That left Gomez, who turns 37 on New Year's Day, with $23,344,351 in earnings, $10,609 short of the mark set in 2003 by Jerry Bailey of $23,354,960.

Gomez suffered missing teeth, a gashed knee and a swollen and sore thumb in a frightening spill when his mount, Back At You, veered into the rail during the Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds Dec. 27. As a result of his injuries, he missed his assignments the following day, including the mount on Proudinsky, who earned $90,000 in winning the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT).

The gritty veteran returned Dec. 29 to ride two winners and narrow the gap with Bailey to $79,450.

On the final day of 2008, Gomez won the third race aboard Warren's Appeal by a neck, earning $18,000. Riding with abandon from far back, he returned to the winner's circle following the fifth and sixth races with Twin Turbo ($7,800) by a nose and Kyniska ($33,600) by a head. That left him still $19,681 short of the mark and in need of a win with his fourth and final ride in the next race.

Baroness Thatcher, the second choice in the field of seven at odds of 3-1, stalked in fifth over the Pro-Ride surface for the opening half-mile of the 6 1/2-furlong Kalookan Queen. She angled out in the homestretch to rally mildly, finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Lovely Isle. The show was worth $9,072.

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GOOD LUCK!! and have A GREAT DAY!!!

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