Horses Call Retired Jockey Back to the Saddle for Gulfstream Summer Opener
Jocelyne Gomez changed careers in 2004, retiring from riding Thoroughbreds at South Florida racetracks to devote her time to her new family.
“I had a daughter, who's now 7, and I got married,” Gomez said. “I traveled and lived the good life.”
Gomez, though, never left racing behind.
“It's always been in my blood,” said Gomez during Saturday's program at Gulfstream Park.
Away from riding for nine years, Gomez launched a comeback last spring with a pair of victories. Saturday, she won her first race at Gulfstream since her long hiatus, guiding Copy Catter ($5.20) to an eight-length victory in the sixth race. Trainer Stephen DiMauro saddled the first-time starter.
“He just said, ‘Send him,' and that's what I did,” said Gomez, who set the pace aboard the Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir, who ran 4 ½ furlongs in 51.71 seconds.”
Monarch Stable and trainer Larry Pillotti teamed to collect their second victory in a maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds in back-to-back programs at Gulfstream. Pillotti saddled Joann's Wildcat for a 2 ¾-length triumph in the first race. The daughter of Wildcat Heir, who was sent to post as the 9-5 favorite for her debut, ran 4 ½ furlongs in 52 seconds. Monarch and Pillotti scored with juvenile The Boot Wildcat in the fourth race on July 4th.
Jilver Chamafi, who rode Joann's Wildcat in Saturday's opener, came right back to complete a sweep of the daily double with a half-length victory aboard Vero's Hero ($3.60) in the second race. He completed a successful afternoon in the eighth race, slipping Prince of Speed ($5.40) through an opening on the rail in deep stretch to collect his third win of the day.
Jose Rodriguez and Allen Maragh rode two winners each. Rodriguez scored aboard Party in the Sky ($23.80) in the fourth and Rerun ($7.40) in the seventh. Maragh visited the winner's circle with Big Red Talent ($7.80) in the third and Madison Street ($2.60) in the fifth.
Brother Shamir Maragh, although winless, experienced good fortune by escaping injury in a spill during the fourth race, in which he was unseated after his mount, Dillon's Actor, clipped heels with another horse along the backstretch.