GOMEZ, GILCHRIST LOOK FORWARD TO NEW YEAR AFTER SAD ENDING TO 2008

Jockey Garrett Gomez and trainer Greg Gilchrist were optimistic about the future after being involved in accidents that could have been more serious than they were at Santa Anita yesterday.

Gomez, en route to his third consecutive national money title, lost several upper front teeth, suffered a gash on his left knee which did not require sutures, and a swollen left hand after the 2-year-old colt Back At You veered in during the stretch and hit the rail, unseating Gomez in Saturday’s seventh race. Gomez, who turns 37 on New Year’s Day, was taken to Arcadia Methodist Hospital where he was released last night after being treated.

“Garrett told me not to turn anything (potential mounts) loose,” agent Ron Anderson said Sunday morning. “I feel very optimistic.” Gomez was excused from his seven mounts Sunday, but remained on his five scheduled mounts for Monday, and Anderson was confident Gomez could ride Monday after speaking with the jockey late Sunday morning.

“There’s better than a good chance he could ride tomorrow,” Anderson said. “Amazing as it seems, there was even a small chance he could have ridden today. He’s tougher than I don’t-know-what.”

Through Saturday, Gomez was $109,014 short of Jerry Bailey’s record of $23,354,960 for purse earnings in one year, set in 2003. “In the realm of everything,” Anderson said, “at this point, who cares (about the record)? I think we dodged a bullet and I feel very fortunate that Garrett’s going to be OK.”

Gilchrist had encouraging news Sunday morning about his filly, Indyanne, who suffered a fractured left front sesamoid during the stretch run of the Grade I La Brea Stakes yesterday.

“It didn’t look very good right after the race,” Gilchrist said. “I was very optimistic, but I don’t think Vince Baker, the vet, was. After we took X-rays, she had shattered the inside sesamoid on her left front leg, and that’s not good. If the outside one is shattered, their chances are slim. But X-rays showed the outside sesamoid was perfect, and her suspensory ligaments did not seem to be damaged that bad, so I think her chances (of survival) are pretty good.

“Certainly, her racing career is over, but she should make a nice broodmare, and monetarily, she’s certainly worth something as a broodmare. She’s not out of the woods, but as the hours go by, the reports get better. If she recovers, she can be bred next year if she cycles on time, maybe as early as March. Right now she’s in Barn 69, where Mike Puype is stabled.

“After conferring with his peers, Dr. Baker said it was probably better if she did not have surgery. She probably could be in Kentucky within a week at (owner) John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington.

“I prefer to look at the glass as half full. Maybe Garrett was lucky and maybe Indyanne will be lucky. Things could have been a helluva lot worse.”



COURT GIVES THUMBS UP TO ANIMAL PLANET’S ‘JOCKEYS’ SHOW

Jon Court has seen a preview of the Animal Planet shows, “Jockeys,” and is enthusiastic about the episodes which reveal behind-the-scenes views of several riders based in Southern California.

“We got involved in the summer of 2008 and actually were finishing up the winter/spring meet at Santa Anita when they were able to sell the idea and do the auditions,” Court said. “They started filming at Fairplex in mid-summer and continued through Oak Tree. The riders involved put in considerable time, and the crew was around us every day. They went to our homes and delved into our private lives.

“The series starts on Feb. 6 on the Discovery Channel. There will be different features on every show and the first one features Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland, Joe Talamo and Aaron Gryder.”



FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert said champion Indian Blessing came out of her victory in the La Brea in good shape and would train up to the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 28. “She’s run hard in her last few races, so she deserves a little breather,” Baffert said . . . Probable for next Saturday’s Grade III Monrovia Handicap for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf: Lethal Heat, Alex Solis; Ransom Captive, Mike Smith; and Trouble Maker, Victor Espinoza . . . Edgar Prado was on hand at Clockers’ Corner Saturday morning despite the fact that he had no riding assignments after riding four horses at Santa Anita on opening day. One of Prado’s biggest boosters, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, was asked why he didn’t book Prado on any of his horses Saturday. “I didn’t know he was here,” Frankel said . . . Aaron Gryder, black and blue around both eyes from a broken nose suffered three weeks ago at Hollywood Park, hasn’t let the mishap stop him from riding. “A horse fell and his hoof hit me in the face,” the 38-year-old jockey said. “On Wednesday, doctors had to re-break my nose and repair it so I could breath.” Asked if the injury bothered his riding, he quipped, “I don’t ride with my nose.” There will be racing at Santa Anita tomorrow, Monday. The feature race is the $70,000 Impressive Luck Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course. First post time is 12:30 p.m.