Friday 28 April 2017

Legendary Breeders' Cup jockey passes away at 44

Jockey Garrett Gomez celebrates riding Beholder to victory in the Grey Goose Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies Grade 1 race at Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California, on November 2, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Jockey Garrett Gomez celebrates riding Beholder to victory in the Grey Goose Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies Grade 1 race at Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California, on November 2, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Garrett Gomez, the winner of 13 races at the Breeders' Cup, has died at the age of 44.

Gomez rode in his last race in 2013 but did not officially retire until two years later. He had been suffering from substance abuse.

His career began in 1988 but his stellar year was in 2007 when he rode 265 winners.

That year he was honoured with an Eclipse Award as the outstanding jockey, a feat he repeated in 2008.

The winner of 83 Grade One races, he will perhaps be best remembered as the jockey of Blame, who beat Zenyatta in a dramatic conclusion to the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic. It was Zenyatta's final race of her career having won the previous 19.

Gomez co-wrote a book about his troubles with alcohol and drug addiction called: The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey's Journey Through Addiction and Salvation.

His daughter, Shelby Gomez, confirmed his death to www.bloodhorse.com, but declined to give details.

Tony Matos, his former agent, said: "He was a great person. That's all I have to say.

"I'm just so sad. He was such a good person."

Other notable wins for Gomez included the Cigar Mile on Saeed bin Suroor's Discreet Cat and the Shadwell Turf Mile on Aidan O'Brien's Aussie Rules.

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