Jockey Garrett Gomez wins fourth consecutive national money earning title

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gomez wins national money title

ARCADIA, Calif. — Garrett Gomez rode Cenizo to a 1¼-length victory in the last race of the year at Santa Anita on Thursday, giving the jockey his fourth consecutive national purse earnings title.

Gomez overtook Julien Leparoux by $10,606 to join Laffit Pincay Jr. (1974-74) and Braulio Baeza (1965-68) as riders with four straight money titles. Bill Shoemaker owns the record of seven consecutive years from 1958-64.

Gomez finished with purse earnings of $18,571,171. Leparoux had earned $18,560,565 before returning to his native France to be with his family for the Christmas holidays.

Gomez picked up the mount on 4-5 wagering favorite Cenizo when Martin Pedroza took ill three races earlier. Gomez, who turns 38 on New Year’s Day, trailed Leparoux by $194 going into the final race. But he had the money title wrapped up because Cenizo would have earned a performance fee of $400 for merely coming out of the starting gate.

“To have to go down to actually my last mount of the year is unreal,” Gomez said. “I was lucky enough to pick up the winner. I was hanging around the (jockeys’) room, hoping to pick up something, and Martin didn’t feel well.”

Gomez’s mount in the second race, Red Arrow, finished last. His only other scheduled mount, Fund Raiser, won the fourth, but the purse of $26,400 wasn’t quite enough to put him over the top until he picked up the late mount in the eighth. Cenizo earned $10,800 for the win.

“It’s been a great year,” Gomez said.

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