With Eclipse Award rivals Johnny Velazquez and Javier Castellano there to accept the honor on behalf of their fallen friend, rider Ramon Dominguez collected his third consecutive award as Most Outstanding Jockey, while recuperating from a hospital bed back in New York. In a gala affair at Gulfstream Park, the injured rider proved to be one of the most popular winners of the evening.
Involved in a nasty spill aboard Convocation yesterday at Aqueduct, Dominguez was diagnosed with a slightly displaced skull fracture as a result of the fall. Steve Rushing, agent for Dominguez said the 36-year-old rider was to undergo further tests at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, but all signs for the rider’s full recovery appear to be good.
Jeannine Edwards, master of ceremony at the Eclipse Awards, announced early in the show that she spoke with Dominguez’s wife, Sharon, this afternoon and the news was very positive. Sharon Dominguez said that all the tests today went very well and that her husband is expected to come back at full strength. She also went on to thank Jeannine and the entire industry for the outpouring of support shown to the injured rider. The relayed message brought one of the biggest ovations of the event.
For Dominguez, the Eclipse Award was a hat trick, having already won the previous two years. A native of Venezuela, Dominguez led all riders on the NYRA circuit once again with 322 victories, and was a clear leader in the national earnings list, with more than $25 million in the bank. Among his most important victories this year included a pair of front running scores aboard Little Mike in the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf. As of yesterday, Dominguez was only 16 victories short of joining the 5,000 win club, an exclusive club that only includes 25 members. That feat might need to wait a while, but hopefully becoming only the second jockey to win the Eclipse Award three or more times in a row (Jerry Bailey did it twice) will help ease his recovery just a little bit.