US jockey great Garrett Gomez dies at Age 44

Two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Garrett Gomez has died, according to his daughter Shelby Gomez. He was 44.Shelby Gomez declined to give details Dec. 14 on the death of her father.

Gomez, who won 23 stakes races at Keeneland during his career, last raced in 2013. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2007 and 2008.

Gomez, who dealt with substance abuse during his career, rode Rags to Riches to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks over a muddy track. He won 13 Breeders’ Cup races.

Gomez officially retired from riding in 2015, but rode his last race in 2013. He began riding races in 1988 and won a career-high 265 races in 2007. He was honored with the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2007 and repeated that feat in 2008. Among his accomplishments were 13 Breeders’ Cup wins.

He also had setbacks during his career because of substance abuse and co-authored a book titled The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addiction and Salvation.

Perhaps his biggest win came in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs when his mount, Blame, handed Zenyatta the only loss of the champion mare’s career.

Gomez began racing in 1988 and had his best year in 2007 when he won a career-high 265 races. Gomez also broke Jerry Bailey’s record of wins in stakes races in 2007 when Gomez secured 76 stakes race victories.

Gomez’s final mount was Oct. 5, 2013 at Keeneland.

Gomez retired with 3,769 wins from 21,639 mounts, according to Bloodhorse News. He additionally had 3,329 seconds and 3,015 thirds. His career earnings for his owners were $205,224,899.

Gomez battled with substance abuse during his career, even causing him to miss the 2003 and 2004 racing seasons as well as portions of the 2013 season.