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Nov 21, 2007

Gomez sets record, Guidry retires.

By: By Don Agriss - Horse Racing Editor, SPORTS NETWORK

By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Leading jockey Garrett Gomez concluded a record breaking weekend at Hollywood Park with an eye toward his first Eclipse Award. Gomez re-wrote the record book with his 71st stakes victory of the year breaking the mark held by Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.

The 35-year-old Gomez is first this year in earnings with more than $21.5 million. He is better than $3.5 million ahead of Robby Albarado in the standings.

The regular rider of top three-year-old filly Rags to Riches, Gomez equaled Bailey's record of 70 stakes victories on Saturday with a win in the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes with Hucking Hot at Hollywood Park. Bailey set the record in 2003.

Gomez set the new record for most stakes victories in a single season Sunday with his win aboard Spring Awakening in the $108,100 Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park.

"A lot of the credit goes to my agent," Gomez said of Ron Anderson, who had Bailey's book when he set the record. "He has put us in all the right places this year. At first when they kept telling me about it and telling me about it, I was just going like 'yeah, yeah, yeah.' But now that I'm there, it's a nice feeling to be able to put my name up there with a guy like that."

Gomez guided Rags to Riches to wins in the Santa Anita Oaks and Kentucky Oaks. His two Breeders’ Cup stakes victories, the Sprint with Midnight Lute and the Juvenile Fillies with Indian Blessing, garnered him his second Shoemaker Award as outstanding jockey in the World Championships.

"Until I tied it yesterday (Saturday), it really hadn't sunk in," Gomez said of the record. "This is the guy (pointing to agent Ron Anderson) that did it right here. I just pointed 'em in the right direction."

Meanwhile, veteran rider Mark Guidry concluded his career on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

"I think it is just time," Guidry said. "It is time for another chapter in my life and I am looking forward to it. I hope I can get a good job somewhere. I think I have a lot to offer. I have been through it all on the racetrack and hopefully, that will be my calling.

"I had a great career and I appreciate all the opportunities that were given to me all these years. That will be missed, but that is why a steward is a good thing for me, because I will be able to come see my peers and be a part of the game and give something back."

Guidry begins the six-day Racing Officials Accreditation Program on Wednesday at the University of Louisville.

He closes his riding career as the 21st winningest all-time North American rider with 5,043 victories. In a 33-year career Guidry earned $100,857,648.

"I have just been real fortunate," Guidry said. "I was luckier than some and not as lucky as others. I am grateful I am going out on my own terms and in one piece. I guess that's all you can ask."

Gomez and Guidry competed against each other at the Chicago racetracks in the late 1980's and early 1990's. In this year's Kentucky Derby, Guidry was fourth aboard Imawildandcrazyguy and Gomez finished eighth with Any Given Saturday. Five weeks later in the Belmont Stakes Gomez and Hard Spun finished fourth while Guidry and Imawildandcrazyguy were sixth.

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