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
Park, and Saratoga Race
Course. Castellano will attempt to gain revenge when racing resumes on Friday
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
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
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