Gomez, Anderson duo looks sweet to horse racing

Nov 18, 2008 5:07 PM

Golden Edge by Ed Golden |

To find Garrett Gomez on the list of the nation’s most lucrative cash collectors, take the advice Deep Throat gave Bob Woodward in "All the President’s Men"–"Follow the money."

For the third straight year, Gomez will be on top of the heap. The native of Tucson, who turns 37 on Jan. 1, rode horses that had earned more than $22 million heading into the last month of 2008, $5.7 million in front of runner-up Robby Albarado.

If Gomez maintains his lead, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t, it again will be a tribute to the union he has formed with super agent Ron Anderson. Since their alliance in 2005, Gomez has led all riders in earnings with nearly $65 million, $22.8 million last year and $20.1 million in 2006.

Anderson and Gomez have honed their own version of Fort Knox. Take it from Anderson, there’s more to being a premier agent than reading a condition book.

"We’re like $6 million ahead of Albarado," Anderson said. "I think Garrett is up to 64 stakes, and his record is 76. He won four Breeders’ Cup races this year, and nobody’s ever done that before. Nobody’s ever won three, so even with the extended number of 14 Breeders’ Cup races, it was a pretty good run."

The association of Anderson and Gomez is a match made in heaven, and not only at the box office.

"Our relationship is great," said Anderson, 53. "Being on top is what you strive for. That’s kind of why you get up every day and run around and ship out of town. Garrett does a lot of shipping to retain that top spot. I don’t know how many million dollar races he’s won this year, but a lot."

Las Vegas native Anderson enjoyed his greatest success with seven-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Jerry Bailey, representing him from 2000 until his retirement three years ago.

"I came on board with Jerry in 2000 at Keeneland," Anderson recalled. "During our affiliation he was the Eclipse Award winner in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and probably would have won it in 2004 if he hadn’t broken his wrist falling off a ladder (attempting to repair a window at his Florida home that had suffered hurricane damage).

Anderson also represented Gary Stevens for 9½ years and Fernando Toro for 10, and credits Toro for establishing the foundation and values of Agenting 101.

"My big break in this business came when I got Fernando Toro in 1980," Anderson said. "He taught me the nuances, about horsemanship, how to treat people and what to say. He was like a father image to me. So if I am considered a good agent, it’s probably because I was lucky enough to have him."

In a game where loyalties are as fragile as egos, Anderson’s psyche has remained relatively unaltered.

"I’m still on good terms with them," Anderson said of his former patrons. "I talk to Gary Stevens almost every day and Jerry calls once a week or so. It’s all good. People talk about my performance, and I know I do a real good job, but the guys I had made things awfully easy.

"It’s not tough working for Garrett Gomez. He’s a first-class guy. He says all the right things to people; he’s considerate, he’s kind and he’s appreciative, to the horses as well as our clients. They all made it easy for me."

Reaching the apex in any business is relatively effortless, compared with staying there. Anderson knows that nothing as monotonous as yesterday’s news, especially with the short attention spans of today’s society. Asked what he and Gomez would do for an encore in 2009, Anderson had a focused and direct response: "We’ll just try and do it again."

The homestretch

The Eagles might have won last Sunday’s game against the Giants as a 3-point home favorite, instead of losing, 36-31, if coach Andy Reid hadn’t employed the late Woody Hayes’ medieval offensive strategy of "three yards and a cloud of dust."

• Naming Lou Piniella National League Manager of the Year proves beyond a doubt that voting should take place after the World Series. While I occasionally disagreed on his strategy this season, Charlie Manuel of the World Series champion Phillies deserved the honor far more than Piniella, whose Cubs went three and out in the playoffs. I’m sure, however, that Manuel wouldn’t switch trophies with Piniella.

• If Manny Ramirez was fielding his position as well as he’s fielding financial offers from other teams, he’d be a better player.

• While Barack Obama may name Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, it’s not true that he will appoint Bill Ayers as Secretary of Defense and John Edwards as Secretary of Extramarital Affairs.