Maryland-based rider Kevin Gomez was named Wednesday as one of three finalists for the Eclipse Award as the leading apprentice jockey of 2016.
Gomez, 22, joins Lane Luzzi and Luis Ocasio as finalists in a category that has been won by other Maryland-based jockeys such as Chris McCarron (1974), Kent Desormeaux (1987), Luzzi's father, Mike Luzzi (1989), Mark Johnston (1990), Ryan Fogelsonger (2002) and Victor Carrasco (2013).
Winners will be announced in all categories at the 46th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, hosted for the fifth consecutive year by Gulfstream Park's Sport of Kings Theater on Jan. 21.
"I feel happy and I'm honored to be there. Not all the bug boys get to be there in their first year of riding, so it means a lot to me," Gomez said. "I think I've done better than I thought. I didn't think I'd do as well as I have. Knowing I'm one of the three finalists makes me feel even better."
Luzzi, 19, began his career in Maryland in November 2015 before relocating to South Florida last June, ending 2016 with 88 wins and $2.2 million in purse earnings.
Ocasio, based primarily in the Mid-Atlantic at Parx and Penn National, led all apprentices with 110 wins and $2.8 million in purses last year.
More horse racing: California Chrome, Arrogate and Songbird are the finalists for Horse of the Year. The trophy will be presented one week before California Chrome races for the final time, facing Arrogate in the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, won seven of his eight starts last year, losing only to Arrogate in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Bob Baffert is one of three finalists for the trainer Eclipse, last year's winner, joined by Chad Brown and Mark Casse. If Baffert wins, he would be the third five-time winner of the Eclipse in that division, joining only Bobby Frankel and seven-time winner Todd Pletcher.
Former Terps stars Zusi, Kemp invited to U.S. camp
Former Maryland men's soccer stars Graham Zusi and Taylor Kemp were among the 32 players invited to United States men's national team coach Bruce Arena's first camp, the team announced Thursday. The all-Major League Soccer winter training camp begins Tuesday and runs for nearly a month in Carson, Calif. It's the first since former U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was fired in November. Zusi has been a national-team staple since making his debut in 2012. The Sporting Kansas City midfielder has five goals in 42 appearances with the U.S. senior team. A two-time national champion at Maryland, Zusi will work with the defense this camp. Kemp, a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, was drafted No. 17 overall by D.C. United in 2013. The defender has started in 73 games for United, tying a career high with six assists last season. This is his first U.S. camp call-up. United center back Steve Birnbaum and goalkeeper Bill Hamid also were named to Arena's roster. The United States will hold a friendly against Serbia on Jan. 29 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before resuming World Cup qualifying against Jamaica in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Feb. 3.
Report: Texans CB Johnson (River Hill) has foot surgery
Houston Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson (River Hill) recently underwent foot surgery to aid the healing process after breaking a bone in his foot in October against the Indianapolis Colts, the Houston Chronicle reported. Placed on injured reserve, Johnson is expected to make a full recovery in time for the offseason, the newspaper said. The initial plan was for Johnson to have the foot heal naturally, but it was decided recently to have the surgical procedure, according to the report. Johnson had surgery on the same foot for a Jones fracture after his rookie season along with wrist surgery. Drafted in the first round last year out of Wake Forest, Johnson had 10 tackles in his final game of the season. Johnson's loss represented a major blow to the Texans' defense, but they have carried on well without him because of the presence of cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson. In two NFL seasons, Johnson has recorded 73 tackles, 12 passes defended, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Men's college lacrosse: Mount St. Mary's opens its season Feb. 11 with a home game against Delaware. Other nonconference games include at home against Towson (Feb. 18), Richmond (Feb. 21), Furman (Feb. 26), Bucknell (April 8) and Georgetown (April 18) and road contests at Bellarmine (March 11) and Virginia Military Institute (March 28).
Men's college volleyball: Stevenson is ranked No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Top 15 preseason poll.
College baseball: Towson will open its season at Cal State Northridge from Feb. 24 to 26. The Tigers' home opener will be against Wagner from March 3 to 5.