Jockey Garrett Gomez found dead at 44


Garrett Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner whose career as a jockey was often colored by problems with drugs and alcohol, has died at 44.

According to the Daily Racing Form, citing sources, he died of a drug overdose on Wednesday near Tucson. No law enforcement organization in the area immediately confirmed details of his death.

Gomez officially retired from racing in June 2015 but had been off the track since 2013, when he voluntarily was taken off all his mounts at Santa Anita because of personal problems.


Gomez’s last moment in the national spotlight was in 2010, when he rode Blame to victory over the undefeated and wildly popular mare Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Gomez won 13 Breeders’ Cup races in his career but never the Kentucky Derby. His best finish in the Derby was a second in 2009 aboard Pioneerof The Nile, sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2007 and 2008. He was the top jockey in purses from 2006 until 2009.

He spent at least nine stays in rehab facilities before he said he found sobriety in 2003. He claimed to have been sober for a decade before he asked to be taken off his mounts in 2013.

He won 3,769 of 21,639 races, according to Equibase. His horses won more than $205 million.

Gomez wrote a book about his struggles: “The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addiction and Salvation.” It was meant to be a cautionary tale to younger jockeys.


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