By Jeremy Balan
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.
Garrett Gomez officially retired from riding in 2015, but rode his last race in 2013. He began riding races in 1988 and won 265 races in 2007. He was honored with the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey that year and repeated the feat in 2008. He was also awarded the 2011 George Woolf Memorial Award by his peers.
Among his accomplishments were 13 Breeders' Cup wins, including rides aboard Blame in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Beholder in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). In total, he won 3,769 races, 316 graded events, and 83 grade I contests.
The Tucson, Ariz., native 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.
"He was a great person. That’s all I have to say," said Tony Matos, who served as Gomez's agent late in the jockey's career. "I'm just so sad. He was such a good person."