Ramon Dominguez joined Jorge Velasquez as one of only two jockeys to win six races in a single day at Belmont Park, aided by a sweep of the June 5 New York Stallion Series races aboard Darrin's Dilemma and Hessonite.
It was the 16th time a jockey has won six races on a single card on the New York Racing Association circuit. If not for Friend Or Foe wearing down Dominguez’s mount, Rail Trip, in the $60,000 Easy Goer overnight stakes, the jockey would have become the first rider to win seven races in a single day at a NYRA track.
In race six, the $75,000 NYSS Spectacular Bid Division for 3-year-olds, Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ Darrin’s Dilemma employed a new running style, rating in second as favored Bold Deed set fractions of :23.36 and :46.36. Given his cue nearing the quarter pole, Darrin’s Dilemma took command in upper stretch en route to a one-length victory over the pacesetter (VIDEO).
“I think the key factor today with him is how well he relaxed,” said Dominguez of Darrin’s Dilemma, who entered the Spectacular Bid off a victory in the six-furlong NYSS Times Square Division May 11. “He can be very quick and he's coming off these real short distance races and I was afraid that he would be too keyed up, but he relaxed so nicely and that really helped him. Of course, the grass maybe moved him up as well, but he just relaxed great.”
The Spectacular Bid was the first start on turf for Darrin’s Dilemma, who completed seven furlongs over firm going in 1:21.94. The son of Freud returned $7.10 for a $2 win wager as the 5-2 second choice, improved his record to 3-2-0 from five starts, and earned $45,000 to lift his bankroll to $144,700.
“I was very happy he liked the grass,” said winning trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “He ran big for us. I was a little concerned because he usually goes to the lead, but it was good for us that he relaxed and made the winning move. Ramon did a very good job with him, and we got lucky.”
Dominguez’s sixth win came in race nine, the $75,000 NYSS Cupecoy’s Joy, aboard Hessonite, his final mount of the day (VIDEO). Reserved in fifth early, Hessonite was guided off the rail entering the upper turn, ranged up three wide turning for home, and blew by her opponents once put to a drive, finding the wire 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Lady On the Run.
“It could have been seven, but I got beat early on,” said Dominguez moments after his Cupecoy’s Joy victory. “It really wasn’t me. It was the horses. I’m very happy. I didn’t know I was only the second rider to win six races (at Belmont Park).”
Hessonite, who was cutting back in distance off a triumph in a 1 1/16-mile New York-bred allowance over soft turf at Aqueduct April 23, completed the Cupecoy’s Joy’s seven-furlong distance in 1:22.78 and returned $4.70 as the 6-5 favorite. Trained by David Donk for William J. Punk Jr. and Philip Di Leo, she ran her record to 3-0-0 from 5 starts.
“Today the concerns were reversed,” Donk said. “Today’s race was much shorter, with it being over firm ground. She’s going to be a pretty useful filly. (Dominguez) said she got to wandering a little bit, but once he hit her one time, she went about her business.”
Hessonite has earned $102,310 to date, including $45,000 for her Cupecoy’s Joy success. Like Darrin’s Dilemma, Hessonite is by Freud .
Dominguez began his historic day with a victory in the first race, a one-mile optional claimer, aboard favored Saginaw ($3) coming from just off the pace to win by three-quarters of a length. Without a mount in the second, he returned to win the $60,000 Xtra Heat with Bellamy Star ($11.40) and posted a front-running win on Little Larky ($9.30) in race five. He extended his victory total to five in race seven with favored Show Trial ($3.40), who rallied to win the one-mile claiming race by 1 ¾ lengths.
Dominguez won six races from eight mounts. Velasquez went six-for-six on June 9, 1981.