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Dominguez Takes Belmont Riding Title

The jockey and trainer title chases for the Belmont Park spring/summer meet came down to the final two races on closing day, with Ramon Dominguez holding off a furious charge by Javier Castellano to take the riding crown and Linda Rice winning with her final starter of the meet to tie Todd Pletcher atop the trainer standings.

 

Dominguez, the 2010 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey, led by six following Friday’s card, but Castellano was able to reduce the deficit to one by winning four races on Saturday and maintaining a 2-1 edge through the first nine races on Sunday.

 

Castellano, attempting to pick up a share of the title in Sunday’s 10th and final race, led in deep stretch aboard Ms Diller before Dominguez rallied in the center of the track aboard Aprilmayjune to clinch the crown.

 

Overall, Dominguez won 71 races during the meet, with Castellano posting 69 triumphs. Cornelio Velasquez was third with 50 wins.

 

It was the 14th NYRA meet title for Dominguez, who has topped the jockey standings at 13 of the 15 most recent meets at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. Castellano will attempt to gain revenge when racing resumes on Friday at Saratoga, where he finished second in the standings last year.

 

Pletcher entered the weekend with a two-race advantage before Rice registered a triumph on Saturday and won Sunday’s ninth race with Sextant, who gave the trainer a share of the title and her 1000th career victory.

 

It was the second straight NYRA meet where Rice finished tied atop the standings, having deadlocked with David Jacobson this spring at Aqueduct. In 2009, she became the first woman to win a NYRA title when she finished on top at Saratoga.

 

Pletcher, a five-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer and the reigning leading horseman at Saratoga, has now won or shared 25 meet titles.

 

The leading owner was Flying Zee Stables, whose principle, Carl Lizza, passed away July 8. Flying Zee Stables clinched the owner title on Saturday with victories in race 5 with Take a Walk and Peace Now in race 7 and added a final victory with Money Magnet in Sunday’s fifth race to finish the meet with 16 wins.

 

The 143rd meet at historic Saratoga Race Course gets underway Friday, July 22 and will feature 40 days of top-class racing through Labor Day, September 5. First post is 1 p.m. daily, with special post times of 2:30 on July 29 and September 2. On Travers Day, August 27, first post is 11:35 a.m. 

 

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