Garrett Gomez knows his way around Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course, be it on Mizdirection or Broken Dreams.
Gomez has ridden Mizdirection, 6-5 morning line favorite for
Sunday’s Grade II Monrovia Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, seven
times, winning three, including last year’s Monrovia. He has ridden
Broken Dreams, Monrovia co-third choice, in nine of her last 12 races,
winning four, including the Grade III Sen. Ken Maddy on Santa Anita’s
downhill turf course last Oct. 20.
On Sunday, fresh from celebrating his 41st birthday on New Year’s
Day, Gomez rides Broken Dreams for trainer Tom Proctor, who has the
7-year-old Florida-bred mare ticketed for the breeding shed this spring.
“I just ride my horse,” Gomez said when asked about strategy.
“She loves the downhill course, and it’s a really good distance for her.
She’s been running real well and she enjoys the hillside.”
Mizdirection, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint against
males last Nov. 3 on the same course as the Monrovia, will be ridden by
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and spots Broken Dreams five pounds,
“It looks like there’s one other speed horse (Kindle) in the
race,” Gomez pointed out. “But I beat her here in the Maddy (at about 6 ½
on turf) and she came back and beat me in the Cool Air at Hollywood
Park when it was a little bit shorter (six furlongs on grass on Nov.
“Broken Dreams is a really nice filly. It’s a short field but I think it’s a good race.”
Mizdirection, meanwhile, has been no surprise to Mike Puype.
“She’s very honest; she tries every time,” said Puype, who trains the
gray daughter of Mizzen Mast for an ownership that includes sports talk
superstar Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing. “She brings her ‘A’ game every
Mizdirection has never been out of the money in 12 career
starts, winning seven, with four seconds and one third. She has been
favored in nine of her races, five times at odds-on. With $914,621
already earned, if Mizdirection wins the Monrovia she would surpass the
$1 million mark for Rome and partners William Strauss, Daniel Grohs,
Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak.
“Rome loves the game,” Puype said. “It’s all good. It’s a good partnership and a good group of people.”
The field for the Monrovia: Curvey Cat, Corey Nakatani, 15-1;
Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Kindle, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; Givine,
Tyler Baze, 15-1; Broken Dreams, Garrett Gomez, 7-2; and Mizdirection,
Mike Smith, 6-5.