In the midst of yet another fantastic riding day, one in which he booted home four winners, Horse Racing Nation caught up with the newly minted 2010 Eclipse Award winning outstanding jockey Ramon Dominguez. We talked with Ramon about receiving the prestigious honor. We reminisced about one of his favorite horses, Fabulous Strike, as he prepares to hit the comeback trail. And we got some quick updates on some of his top mounts for 2011.
Horse Racing Nation: Ramon Dominguez: Eclipse award winning jockey. A week and a half later, has it sunk in yet?
Ramon Dominguez: It's a tremendous honor, it really is. But on Thursday, I was back here (at Aqueduct) riding, you know? It was a great honor for me, and it wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of my agent, and the support of all the trainers that we ride for. But nothing's changed. I'm just going to continue to work hard and hope for another good year.
RD: Definitely. He's one of my favorite horses. Right up there with Better Talk Now. Gio Ponti. A few others.
HR Nation: What do you like most about him?
RD: He just tries so hard every time, you know? Gives you a good, professional effort. I mean, there have been races where they've been cooking on the front end. Going :21, :43, and he just gives it his all, and guts it out.
HR Nation: Is there one race of his that stands out in your mind?
RD: Definitely the (2007) Vosburgh. He was so great that day. He went, I think, 21:4, 44 and change on the lead, and just drew off to win by 5 lengths. There were some really nice horses in that race. But he just blew them away.
HR Nation: He was incredibly gutsy in defeat the next two years in that race.
RD: Yeah. He's just so tough. The 2009 race in the slop was really tough. Kodiak Cowboy got up, he beat him a couple of times that year. Beat him in the Carter too.
HR Nation: Do you feel like he could've won one of those Breeders' Cups if they'd run on dirt in 2008 and 2009?
RD: Well, Midnight Lute was a great horse. (2009 winner Dancing in Silks) was another good one. But I definitely feel like (Fabulous Strike) could've won one of those years, for sure. Like you say, I just wish he would've gotten a chance to run on the dirt in one of those races. He tried it in 2008, and he just didn't like the synthetic.
HR Nation: In addition to Fabulous Strike, you're slated to ride a number of really good horses this year. Most notably, Boys At Tosconova. You had to be disappointed that he wasn't able to make the Holy Bull. Are you concerned?
RD: Not at all. Rick (Dutrow) is such a great horseman, and he knows what it takes to get a horse to the race. He's done it before with Big Brown. So he knows what's best for the horse. Whether he needs to rest, or whether he needs to race.
HR Nation: You touched on Gio Ponti earlier. You must be thrilled that he's back for his six year-old campaign. Any word on what's up with him? Will he prep before he goes to Dubai?
RD: I think Christophe (Clement) might try to get a race into him before he goes to Dubai. Last year we went down to Tampa, and even though he didn't win that day, I think he was in great condition going into the (Dubai World Cup). We just didn't get any pace that day. But I'm really looking forward to going back. I think he definitely has a good chance.
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA