When Back At You slammed to the ground after trying to jump the inner stretch rail in the Dec. 27 Eddie Logan Stakes, jockey Garrett Gomez was momentarily paralyzed, he told Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times.
“When I hit,” said Gomez, who on Wednesday narrowly missed breaking the annual jockey earnings record. “I came down on both my heels. When I was on the board, being carried off, I couldn’t feel my legs, or move them. That was scary.”
And he thought his bruised hand was more seriously injured. I “thought it was broken for sure,” he said.
Gomez’s agent Ron Anderson was in the grandstand, but he was so distraught that he couldn’t look. “When it happened, somebody offered me binoculars to take a look. I said no thanks.”
Fortunately, the feeling in Gomez’s legs came back and the doctors sent him home. However, he spent most of Sunday getting cosmetic dental surgery and could not ride. And the injury likely cost Gomez the earnings record because three of the horses he was scheduled to be aboard Sunday won, including Proudinsky in the the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap.
During Saturday’s Eddie Logan Stakes, Back At You had a clear lead in the stretch, but the lightly-raced 2-year-old fell when he tried to jump the inner rail as he approached a large shadow of the grandstand that darkened the turf course.
Gomez, who was taken to the hospital, broke several front teeth, cut his knee and one of his hands was swollen.
After a quick recuperation and a gritty effort, Gomez won two races Monday and three more on Wednesday at Santa Anita, but fell $10,609 short of Jerry Bailey’s single year earnings record of $23,354,960 set in 2003.