jose gomez wins eclipse as top apprentice

By: Dick Jerardi,

When Jose Antonio Gomez was growing up near Penn National, he knew nothing about Eclipse Awards for top apprentice jockeys. He only knew he wanted to ride horses.

He rode so many horses so well in 2022 that during the annual Eclipse Awards Ceremony at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. on Jan. 26, 2023, he heard his name called when they announced the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey in 2022.

“I just said `yes,’’’ Gomez said Tuesday afternoon at Parx where he spends the early part of each week before heading to New York to ride at Aqueduct. “It was a great feeling. Filled me up with happiness.’’

Gomez had 1,312 mounts in 2022. He won with 153 of them, was second 162 times, with 156 thirds. His total mount earnings were more than $7.6 million. It really was an incredible year for a young rider who was a virtual unknown when the year began.

Once he began riding regularly, his talent was clear. Using veteran agent Bob Martel at Parx and legendary jockey/agent Angel Cordero, Jr. in New York, Gomez became well known very quickly.

“The year 2022 treated me well,’’ Gomez said. “For sure, Saratoga was one of the greatest moments of my young career. Winning a stake up there was a great feeling.’’

Gomez’s mother was a long time groom, his father an exercise rider. So he was bred right into the game.

But Eclipse Award for top apprentice? Not even a thought.

“I knew about (the Eclipse) for older (jockeys),’’ Gomez said. “But I never thought about winning it as an apprentice.’’

He first learned about the award from retired rider Richard Migliore.

“He was always talking about the Eclipse,’’ Gomez said. “Slowly, I had the year I had and it started looming in the back of my mind.’’

The Parx/New York commute, Gomez said, will continue “as long as I get business anywhere. I’m willing to travel.’’

Cordero, he said, taught him a lot about riding and Martel taught him how to talk to trainers.

Watching his mother work so hard with the horses “really motivated me to become somebody’’ Gomez said.

When asked about what he likes most about being a jockey, Gomez replied: “riding the horses. That’s it. It’s an adrenaline (rush). Angel always told me: `it’s like a dance, with you and the horse.’ The riding is the best.’’

When asked about his favorite horses so far, Gomez mentioned several including Reggae Music Man, a win machine in New York.

So young, so accomplished with an award for a lifetime.

So what’s the next goal?

“Get another one this time as a journeyman,’’ Jose Antonio Gomez said.

Latest Articles

Plan your next party or function at PARX Racing today. Whether you're watching a race, hosting a dinner, or a corporate event.

Plan An Event

Let's Go Racing TV Show

Catch the news every Saturday at 10am on NBC Sports Philadelphia!

Check out Let’s Go Racing PARX YouTube Channel