Eurico Rosa da Silva, one of Canadian Thoroughbred racing's most accomplished riders and popular personalities, has been named the 2021 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award. The Gomez Award is given to the person, Canadian-born, Canadian-raised or regular rider in the country for more than five years, who has made significant contributions to the sport. It is named in memory of one of the sport's most heralded and loved performers. The Cuban-born Gomez died of complications after a three-horse accident in the 1980 Canadian Oaks.
“What a nice surprise. Jessica Buckley [Woodbine Entertainment SVP, Standardbred & Thoroughbred Racing] called and told me,” da Silva said. “I was so happy. I didn't expect this, but I feel very lucky. This is a great award. I am so thrilled. I feel like I know Avelino. I have heard so many stories about him. I've heard how great he was as a rider and how the fans loved him. So, to win this award that is named after one of the best riders, it is amazing.”
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, da Silva launched his career in his homeland before moving to Macau. He recorded his first Woodbine victory on May 20, 2004, first topped the track's jockey standings in 2010 and won the riding title from 2015-2019. In 2018, he set the record for most wins in a single meet at Woodbine with 237 victories. A seven-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada's Outstanding Jockey, he also has victories in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown and racked up 2,286 total victories in his career.
Although presented annually on Woodbine Oaks day at Woodbine, this year's ceremony will take place Sept. 19 at Woodbine. With attendance currently limited to due COVID-19 restrictions, the September date will allow more fans to share in the festivities.