Gomez comes up short of Bailey

It wasn’t from a lack of a great effort, but Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez fell $10,610 shy of breaking Jerry Bailey’s single-season earnings record.

Gomez, who was involved in a scary spill last Saturday at Santa Anita, surprisingly returned to ride Monday after missing only one day of action, riding two winners and finishing fourth wth another mount to pull within $79,082 of Bailey’s record $23,354,960 established in 2003.

Three horses that Gomez was scheduled to ride won Sunday, meaning the record likely would be his now if he hadn’t been injured in the Eddie Logan Stakes.

On Wednesday, Gomez won with his first three mounts and would have broken Bailey’s record anyway with a victory in the $70,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap. But his mount Baroness Thatcher finished third and Gomez wound up the season with $23,344,351.

It was a game effort. Gomez, who lost three front teeth in the accident, said he didn’t return so quickly just so he could break Bailey’s record.

“Winning period is a motivation,” Gomez said. “It was the start of a brand new meet, and the record is still attainable if we get lucky enough. More important, I wanted to continue, because out of sight is out of mind. I wanted to get back into action. Thursday is a brand new year and I didn’t want to miss any time if I didn’t have to, money record or no.”

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