The Garrett Gomez Story Named Book Award Finalist

Rudolph Valier Alvarado's book named a

By Yvette Robertson
Published on LatinoLA: March 26, 2013

The Garrett Gomez Story Named Book Award Finalist

Dr. Rudolph Valier Alvarado's book, "The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey's Journey Through Addiction & Salvation" was recently named a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. The award recognizes the best book published in a given year pertaining to horse racing. This is the second time that Alvarado has been named a finalist for the award. In 2008, he won the award for his compelling biography titled, "The Untold Story of Joe Hernandez: The Voice of Santa Anita".

The winner will be announced on April 10 at Lexington, Kentucky, during a cocktail reception held in a room above the Castleton Lyon's historic stallion barn. First prize is $10,000, with $1,000 awarded to each runner-up. In addition, all three finalists will receive a Tipperary Crystal trophy.

Conceived and launched in 2006 by the late Castleton Lyons owner Dr. Tony Ryan, the award has annually showcased the best of horse racing literature. Past entries include legendary mystery writer Dick Francis, 2010 National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon, and multiple Eclipse Award winners William Nack, Bill Mooney, Joe Drape, and Maryjean Wall. Originally known as the Castleton Lyons Book Award, the name was changed to honor its founder, who passed away in 2007. Dr. Ryan's son and Castleton Lyons president, Shane Ryan, has continued to present this prestigious award annually.

This year's judging team was comprised of lead judge and Washington Post editor Kay Coyte; HRTV producer and on-air host Caton Bredar; and attorney Milton C. Toby, winner of the 2011 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award for Dancer's Image--The Forgotten Story of the 1968 Kentucky Derby.

Gomez is an internationally renowned jockey who last stole the national spotlight in the Breeders' Cup Classic when over 4 million television viewers tuned in to NBC to watch he and his mount Blame beat the previously undefeated wonder mare Zenyatta.

Gomez's return to horse racing in 2004, after being away from the sport for close to two years as he sought treatment for his addictions, has been widely documented. However, as the book revealed, Gomez's struggles with alcohol and drugs was something that had been a part of his life since he was a teenager and a way of life that he was introduced to as a young boy.

"Alcohol and drug use was prevalent on his mother's side of the family," Alvarado explained, "and as a boy as young as six or seven years old Garrett experimented with drugs and alcohol. That he was able to overcome his lifelong dependence on alcohol and drugs is truly amazing, and that he's managed to maintain his sobriety and drug-free lifestyle and dominate his sport after all these years is commendable and extraordinary."

Today, Gomez is known the world over as one of Thoroughbred horse racing's top jockeys and is a 2013 horse racing hall of fame finalist. Since his return to racing in 2004, he won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding jockey two years in a row (2007-2008) and led the nation in purse earnings four years in a row from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, he upset Zenyatta aboard Blame in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, and has won major races like the Pacific Classic in California and the Travers Stakes in New York. In 2007, he broke Jerry Bailey's record for stakes victories in a season, winning 76 of them.

The following year he almost eclipsed Bailey's record for earnings by a jockey in one season ($23,354,960), falling little more than $10,000 short. He won the Breeders' Cup World Championships' Shoemaker Award four times and was given the George Woolf Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a rider by his peers, in 2011. All in all, he has ridden 21,367 starters and made 3,724 trips to the winner's circle with earnings of $200,850,002.

The Garrett Gomez Story was published by Caballo Press of Ann Arbor, an independent publisher located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and for which Alvarado serves as publisher. "We didn't start out to make Ann Arbor a hot-bed for books related to the horse racing industry, but with each book that we've released we're certainly receiving more and more of what I like to think of as well deserved attention."

"The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey's Journey Through Addiction & Salvation" can be ordered at To learn more about this title and other titles offered by Caballo Press of Ann Arbor visit

About Yvette Robertson:
Yvette Robertson is the Marketing Director for Caballo Press of Ann Arbor, an independent publisher located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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