first_imgGomez’s riding style seemingly has changed over the last six months. Instead of battling on the early pace, the Arcadia resident has been using a more conservative approach and waits until the stretch to ask his horses for their best. His riding is reminiscent of the now-retired Hall of Famer Eddie Delahoussaye, who became a legend with his come-from-behind victories. ARCADIA – Garrett Gomez, who in 2005 turned his life around by going from substance abuse problems to his best year ever as a jockey, served notice on New Year’s Day that 2006 might be even better. Gomez won Santa Anita’s first race with Successful Seeking ($7), added Winnin N Grinnin ($4) in the third and capped off a triple when he guided Make Mine Minnie ($8.20) to a 1 3/4 length victory over Zoemeg in the $79,400 Blue Norther Stakes, a race that was switched from turf to dirt because of persistent rain. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThose are the tactics Gomez employed in the Blue Norther. He rallied rom fourth on the far turn with Make Mine Minnie to wear down six rivals in the final furlong and ran the mile in 1:35.94 over a wet-fast track for trainer Jeff Mullins. Six-year-old Badge Of Silver never had run on grass, but he found a “good” turf course to his liking and won the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap in wire-to-wire fashion for jockey Patrick Valenzuela. Badge of Silver, trained by Bobby Frankel, had competed against such good horses as Saint Liam, Lime House and Purge in important dirt races on the east coast and Midwest, but seemed to relish the switch to the lawn. “Bobby’s the greatest (referring to Frankel),” Valenzuela said. “Bobby knew his action was good on turf. He said, `He’ll run good. Don’t worry. Just ride him with confidence.’ ” Badge Of Silver ($10.60) won by 2 1/2 lengths over Atlando with Toasted third. He traversed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.02. center_img Santa Anita ends its holiday program today with another stakes doubleheader, the $75,000 Hill Rise Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf and the $100,000 El Conejo Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt for older sprinters. The El Conejo, which drew a field of 13, has showcased some of the best sprinters in California. Lit De Justice scored in 1996, while fan favorite Kona Gold won the Grade III race twice, once in 1999 and again in 2003. Both horses went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. This afternoon ex-claimer Jet West, a winner of three consecutive races including a nose victory in the $150,000 California Cup Sprint on Nov. 6, is the 5-2 favorite. “He’s very versatile,” trainer Ted H. West said. “The first time we ran, he pretty much went wire to wire with really fast fractions, and the last couple of times he’s come from off the pace.” Apprentice jockey Saul Arias won his first-ever Southern California race when he directed the late-running Jackieosofabulous to a $33.40 upset in Sunday’s fifth race for $16,000 claimers. Hurricane Katrina prompted 48-year-old trainer Josie Carroll to send her stable to Southern California rather than campaign on her regular circuit in Louisiana. “Normally, we would have been at the Fair Grounds, but we were looking for an alternative,” Carroll said. “We’ve got 22 horses here and we sent a few to Louisiana Downs in Shreveport. The purses are great out here, so we thought we’d come out. It’s a tougher meet, obviously, but we’re just going to feel our way around and see how we fit.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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