Edited Santa Anita press release.
Jockey Garrett Gomez and a group of Southern California based riders contributed $16,500 to the Winners Foundation today in a winners' circle ceremony following the sixth race at Santa Anita Park. The Winners Foundation helps individuals and families in the racing industry with alcohol and substance abuse problems.
"Without the Winners Foundation, I wouldn't be riding today," said Gomez, who led all North American jockeys in purse money won for a third consecutive year in 2008. "I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Bob Fletcher and everyone involved with the Winners Foundation. They have provided me strength and have helped me maintain my focus during my period of recovery. My family and I could never thank them enough, and I'm honored to be able to give back to the Winners Foundation in this way.
"They help people throughout racing, on the backside, frontside, everywhere. I can't think of a more deserving organization, and I know I speak for hundreds of other people. They do great work, and I wish them all the best in the New Year," he added.
The check was presented on behalf of the jockeys by Darrell Haire, Western Regional Jockey Guild Manager and Winners Foundation board member. Accepting the check on behalf of Winners Foundation were executive director Bob Fletcher, board president Gino Roncelli, and directors Mary Forney and George Haines. Haines is also general manager of Santa Anita.