Garrett Gomez Was Record Breaking Rider Who Struggled With Addiction
Jockey Garrett Gomez carved out a superb 25-year career with 3,769 victories including 13 Breeders’ Cup titles. But on Wednesday, the retired 44-year-old former jockey was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in a hotel room at Casino Del Sol Resort near Tucson, AZ.
Gomez led the nation in purse earnings from 2006 to 2009 and won Eclipse Awards as the country’s top jockey in 2007, when he won 76 stakes races, and in 2008.
Gomez detailed his struggles in 2012 in the book “The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addiction & Salvation.”
Known as Go-Go at the track, Gomez was among the most professional and well-liked riders in the sport. In 2008, Gomez won four races at the Breeders’ Cup. In 2009, he rode Pioneer of the Nile to a 2nd place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The next year, he won three more Breeders’ Cup races including the Classic aboard Blame, beating the late-charging Zenyatta to hand her the only loss of her career.
“It’s sad,” former contemporary Gary Stevens said. “He’s at peace now. He was as good a rider as I’ve ever ridden with, a helluva guy and a helluva a competitor. I didn’t like getting beat but when he showed up, he was on his game.”
Gomez last road at Keeneland in Oct., 2013, but did not retire until June, 2015.
Gomez is survived by his wife Pam and four children, two – a daughter, Shelby, and son, Collin – from his first marriage and two – a daughter, Amanda, and son, Jared – from his second with Pam.
“I enjoyed every horse I ever rode, and I thank all of them for making my career,” Gomez wrote on his Facebook page when he announced his retirement. “I’d like to apologize to all my fans for leaving the sport the way I did.”