After missing nearly four weeks of racing because of a badly bruised knee, jockey Ramon Dominguez returned to action at Aqueduct in Wednesday’s first race, nearly winning on his first mount back. Semichi and Dominguez put away the speedy Unbridled Sunshine but could not hold off a late charging Uptothechallenge.
As it turns out, that was his best finish on an 0-for-4 afternoon. Still, the 30-year-old rider was happy to be back in action.
“Anytime you take some time off, it’s amazing how much you realize you miss the game,” said Dominguez, who said he tended to other business during his down time. “I got to spend a lot of time with my family, which was very nice.”
With Dominguez riding in New York this winter, he does not get to spend as much time with his wife and two young sons who live in Maryland. When riding here, Dominguez spends at least four nights a week away from home.
Fortunately, Dominguez’s home is close to the Fair Hill Training Center, where he was able to get on a few horses in the mornings last week to prepare for his return to race riding.
“The doctors told me it would be about two to three weeks until I could come back,” Dominguez said. “The swelling was bad but there were no broken bones and no ligament damage. I was able to do some stretches to help with the stiffness. It could have been a lot worse.”
The knee injury Dominguez suffered was a result of a nasty spill at Aqueduct Feb. 1 in which he and fellow jockeys Jose Santos and Eddie Martin Jr. were involved. Martin walked away but Santos’ return is expected to be out for several months after suffering numerous injuries, including a shattered and compressed vertebrae.
When Dominguez was sidelined, he held a 13-win lead over Eibar Coa for leading rider on the inner track. After missing nearly a month, Coa has taken over the top spot with a 74-67 lead over Dominguez heading into Wednesday’s action. Those two jocks locked heads last year on the inner track with Coa coming out a 105-100 winner.