Avelino Gomez Memorial Award

The Avelino Gomez Memorial Award is an honor given annually to a jockey who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or a regular in the country for more than five years and who has made significant contributions to the sport.

The honor is named for the late Cuban-born Canadian and American Hall of Fame jockey Avelino Gomez who died in 1980 of complications from injuries sustained in a racing accident during the running of The Canadian Oaks in 1980.

Avelino Gomez Memorial Award honourees receive a replica of the life-size statue of Gomez sculpted by Siggy Puchta that stands at Woodbine Racetrack. The Award is presented in a yearly ceremony on Oaks Day at Woodbine.

Award Winners

2022: Slade Callaghan
2021 : Eurico Rosa da Silva
2020: no award given
2019: Frank Barroby
2018: Emma-Jayne Wilson
2017 : Gary Boulanger
2016 : Gary Stahlbaum
2015: Quincy Welch
2014: Patrick Husbands
2013: Mickey Walls
2012: Steven Bahen
2011: Emile Ramsammy
2010: Stewart Elliott
2007: George HoSang
2006: John LeBlanc
2005: Sam Krasner
2004: Francine Villeneuve
2003: Robert Landry
2002 : Richard Dos Ramos
2001: Chris Loseth
2000: James McKnight
1999: David Clark
1998: Irwin Driedger
1997: Richard Grubb
2009: Robert King
2008: Jack Lauzon
1996: David A. Gall
1995: Don Seymour
1994: no award given
1993: Larry Attard
1992: Robin Platts
1991: Hugo Dittfach
1990: Lloyd Duffy
1989: Jeffrey Fell
1988: Chris Rogers
1987: Don MacBeth
1986: Sandy Hawley
1985 : Johnny Longden
1984: Ron Turcotte

Who is Avelino Gomez?

Avelino Gomez (1928 – June 21, 1980) was a Cuban-born Hall of Fame jockey in American and Canadian thoroughbred horse racing.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Avelino Gomez began a career as a jockey at the urging of a family member. He won his first race in Mexico City. Eventually, he moved to the United States. He built a reputation as a capable rider, gaining considerable attention after winning six races during one racecard at Ascot Park in Akron, Ohio.

He eventually began riding at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, where he would make his home and raise his family. He became a dominant force in racing for over twenty years.

Canada’s top jockey on seven occasions, in 1966, Gomez became the first jockey in Canadian racing history to win 300 races in a single season, and his 318 wins that year were tops in North America. His win percentage for the 1966 season of .32 was the highest ever for a North American champion, a record that still stands. He was a four-time winner of Canada’s most prestigious race, the Queen’s Plate, and the winner of the 1977 Sovereign Award for Outstanding Jockey.

In 1978, Avelino Gomez was recognized with the Sovereign Award of Merit for his lifetime contribution to the sport. He was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977, the U.S. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1982, and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Avelino Gomez died of complications after a three-horse accident during the running of the Canadian Oaks in 1980. He had won 4,081 races with a 24% winning percentage.

Click to see Google Photos of Jockey Avelino Gomez

Photo of Statue compliments of Mike F. Campbell

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