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Dominguez Honored at Laurel Park

Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez, who retired in June due to the severity of injuries sustained in a spill at Aqueduct in January, made a special appearance at Laurel Park Saturday afternoon.

Dominguez, a regular rider at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course for five years earlier in his career, was saluted with a winners’ circle presentation after the second race. The Maryland Jockey Club made a donation to Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) in his name. Dominguez then conducted an autograph session in the clubhouse.

“I am spending a whole lot of time with my family, giving time to my family that didn’t happen often before for schedule reasons,” Dominguez said.”It is something I am enjoying. Yesterday was my first day jogging and I went for a short run. It was exciting, not only to do something physically but mentally it was enjoyable.”

The Venezuela native arrived in Maryland in 2000 and won 1,012 races at the major Maryland tracks over the next five years, including 297 victories in 2001. He earned his first Grade 1 score when he guided A Huevo to victory in the 2003 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. The 2013 De Francis Dash headlined Saturday’s 11-race card.

“It was a very exciting day for me,” Dominguez said. “I would say it was the highlight of my career at Laurel. It was my first Grade 1 and that alone made it special. I came into the day with high hopes and when it was all said and done it was one of those things I’ll never forget.”

RAMON’S MARYLAND MEMORIES

  • two G1 victories: 2003 De Francis Dash (A Huevo) and 2006 Pimlico Special (Invasor)
  • won G2 Dixie Stakes five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 & 2010)
  • rode Regal Engagement to victory in the 2006 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2)
  • pair of victories in G2 General George Handicap: My Cousin Matt (2003) and Bustin Stones (2008)
  • aboard Harissa in Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) score in 2011
  • five G3 victories at Maryland tracks: Allaire DuPont Distaff (2011), Miss Preakness (2004 & 2006), Laurel Futurity (2003) and Anne Arundel Stakes (2000)
  • 10 Preakness Stakes (G1) mounts during a 12-year period from 2001-2012, which included runner-up finishes aboard Scrappy T (2005) and First Dude (2010)
  • Tops all riders in Maryland Million victories with 17, including a record five wins in 2005
  • leading rider in state in 2001 & 2003; ranked second in 2000 & 2002

“I enjoyed riding in Maryland. Of course winning with Invasor in the Pimlico Special, and the Maryland Million were very special to me,” said Dominguez, who won 16 graded stakes races in the state during his career. “There were so many memories. I made great friends through the years. Maryland was home for me and it was an excellent experience racing here.”

Dominguez, who has two young sons with his wife Sharon, retired with 4,985 career victories and earnings of $191.6 million. Last year, he earned his third consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation’s best rider when he surpassed Jerry Bailey for the single-season record in North America with $25.6 million in earnings. The 36-year-old is now devoting his time in assisting the PDJF, a 501 (c) (3) public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

“There are currently close to sixty jockeys receiving funds from the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund,” Dominguez said. “I like to be able to help them in any way I can. Raising awareness is one way. As an industry, I think we all have a level of responsibility to those  who make the ultimate sacrifice. It’s something I am very passionate about.”

Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas announced Saturday that Dominguez would be the recipient of the Pimlico Race Course’s 2014 Special Award of Merit. The award, presented at the Alibi Breakfast two days before the running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), is given to those who have made a positive impact on the racing industry. Previous winners include Jim McKay, Joe Hirsch and D. Wayne Lukas.

“Ever since I started people would ask who my role model was and I really didn’t have one specific person. I had tons of people give me advice to help show me the way, but when Ramon announced his retirement, I realized how much a role model he has been during my career,” said jockey Rosie Napravnik, who competed against Dominguez in Maryland, Delaware and New York. “He has amazing riding ability and is a tremendous person.”

 


 

 

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