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Summer At The Spa

The Champ is Here

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


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Older Comments about The Champ is Here...

Ramon is awesome, period.
Best rider out there... hands down.
Thanks, all, for the comments. Great to hear from, and he was, as many other people who have interviewed him over the years have noted, very gracious. As I write this, Ramon just brought home another winner in the stake. His ride in the 5th today was brilliant. He looked dead to rights at the sixteenth pole. His mount, Thunder Chief, was on the inside. And he just absolutely WILLED that last half furlong out of the horse. Brilliant finisher. Brilliant Rider.
Rarely say this about a rider, but this one, along with a handfull of others, actually changes a horse's chances at the wire,,,,,,Few do but this guy does
Great to hear directly from the Eclipse Award winner himself. Kid has a bright future.
I'm pleased Ramon mentioned Better Talk Now ... what a warrior! Congrats to Ramon on his Eclipse Award!
Great interview! Ramon is riding as well as anyone these days...

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 Meet Joe DePaolo

My love of horse racing dates back to the 1999 Belmont Stakes, where I was fortunate enough to witness Chris Antley's heroics in saving the life of Charismatic from just yards away. Since then, my passion for the sport has only grown, to the point where it fueled my desire to be involved on a professional basis.
A product of Queens College and the world-renowned Bronx High School of Science, I've spent the past few years producing news talk radio on the national level. Most notably, I have worked with; Ron Reagan, Arianna Huffington, and Thom Hartmann.
In 2010, I teamed with heralded freelance writer Claire Novak to host the popular "Youbet: On Track" podcast. Together, Claire and I chronicled the Saratoga 2010 meeting daily, covering everything from Blame's thrilling conquest of the Whitney, to Rachel Alexandra's stunning defeat in the Personal Ensign. Our weekly "Backside Buzz" segment, in particular, earned great acclaim from many in the racing community.
I currently live in Bayside, New York. Contact me at jdepaolo85@gmail.com if you have any comments or questions.

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