From Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity department:
The fallout continued Friday morning in the aftermath of Garrett Gomez saying he “didn’t want to ride for a while,” leaving his agent, Tony Matos, without a premier jockey.
Effective today, Matos will be agent for veteran Corey Nakatani, whom he represented as an apprentice when he was Southern California’s leading “bug” rider nearly a quarter century ago. Nakatani, who had been represented by agent Jim Pegram, will be 43 on Oct. 21.
“Surprised” is how Pegram described his primary reaction on hearing the news from Nakatani that he was parting company. “I got a hint of it last night, but not officially until this morning,” said Pegram, who once upon a time also represented Gomez.
Matos, who also represents jockey Alonso Quinonez, currently recovering from injuries in a spill at the recent Fairplex Park meet, said Friday he “hasn’t heard from” Gomez since receiving a text from him on Wednesday.
“He’s going through personal problems,” Matos said Thursday. “He texted me yesterday and said he didn’t want to ride for a while.”
Matos expects Quinonez to resume riding before the meet ends on Nov. 3. “He was out here yesterday,” Matos said. “He’s going to start swimming, he’s going to start therapy and I would say he’ll be back in two weeks.”
@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter
The news never seems to end at seaside oval.
+ Jockey Garrett Gomez held a 90-minute meeting with track stewards Sunday morning in hopes of getting permission to begin exercising horses on Wednesday.
That isn’t going to happen.
Gomez, who admitted to falling off the wagon and drinking again, had his follow up meeting with the Del Mar stewards moved from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon.
Did Gomez fail his drug/alcohol test? Only time will tell.
Will the stewards play hard ball with Gomez because he failed to show up on opening day and honor his commitments (also for Thursday and Friday)?
The bigger issue might be that Gomez made no attempt to contact the stewards when two weeks ago when he was asked to do so. If Gomez had called to say, he fell off the wagon and was in a rehab a program, the stewards might have a different view of the situation.
As things stand now, the earliest Gomez will be able to get on a horse would be next Saturday and the first possible mounts he might be able to accept would be a week from Wednesday.
We’ll find out on Friday, what the latest chapter is.
+ Further news on the jockey front, trainer Bob Baffert announced Joel Rosario will ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.
Regular rider Mike Smith will be at Saratoga that day to ride Royal delta for trainer Bill Mott, which means Rosario and Smith will pass each other in the air somewhere in the middle of the country.
The news also means defending Pacific Classic champion Dullahan will have a new jockey. Rosario rode him to victory last year.
However, Ron Anderson, Rosario’s agent, told Del Mar media officials “Game On Dude may be the best horse in the country and I would think he’d be a huge favorite (for the Classic).”
The move brought a classic response Dale Romans, Dullahan’s trainer.
“No one monkey stops my show,” said Romans.
+ The Grade I Bing Crosby was interesting on several levels.
Trainer Tim Yakteen scored his first Grade I victory with Points Offthebench ($8.80), who edged Goldencents by a head.
Funny after the race, TVG personality Greg Wolfe interviewed winning jockey Smith. It just so happens Yakteen is married to HRTV handicapper Millie Ball.
Also in the Bing Crosby, the plunger showed up for the second time this weekend and for the second time lost a $200,000 show wager made at Santa Anita.
On Saturday, the loss came in the Fleet Treat Stakes. On Sunday, the wager was on Comma to the Top, who finished fifth.
The show payoffs weren’t as large as the Fleet Treat, but they were nothing to sneeze at: $8.40, $6.60 and $7.20.
+ The Del Mar jockey colony had better be ware of Julien Leparoux when he goes to the lead on the turf course.
Twice on Sunday, Leparoux went wire-to-wire scoring with Pontchatrain ($9.40) and Horizontalyspeakin ($15) in the 10th race.
Leparoux normally rides from behind on the grass, but he was loaded on both horses and nobody pressured him.
Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. BENIOT PHOTO