While Venezuelan-born jockey Ramon Dominguez may have not posted a Triple Crown or Breeders’ Cup victory in 2010, his consistency in notching 43 stakes victories last year, including five in grade I events, has vaulted his record above the rest and earned him his first Eclipse Award as the top rider in North America.
With earnings of $16,911,880, Dominquez also topped the annual North American leading jockeys’ list in 2010. The jockey rode the winners of 369 races from 1,474 mounts. In Eclipse voting he out polled runner up Garrett Gomez 124 to 60.
Dominguez, 34, began riding full time at La Rinconada racetrack in his native country at age 18. He came to the United States in 1995 and rode his first winner in March of 1996 at Hialeah Park. Dominguez’ move to Delaware Park and a partnership with agent Steve Rushing brought him success on the East coast as he was the leading rider at Delaware from 2004 to 2007.
Dominguez, who lives on a 14-acre farm near Fair Hill Training Center near Elkton, Md. with his wife, Sharon, and two young sons, Matthew and Alex, boosted his reputation significantly when he captured the 2004 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) aboard Better Talk Now.
In addition to being at the top of the jockey standings last year, Dominguez also reached an important personal milestone , his 4,000th victory. The jockey notched that win March 19 at Aqueduct when he captured the second race aboard Fortyninegeorgest.
“It feels great, but it’s almost surreal,” said Dominquez after achieving the milestone. “It’s the kind of thing that happens slowly over the years, but you’re not prepared for it when it gets here. I’m so excited. You remember the big races, but every win counts just as much.”
Dominguez’ grade I wins in 2010 came aboard Gio Ponti in the Shadwell Turf Mile and the Man o’ War stakes; Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup; Check the Label in the Garden City Stakes; and Boys At Tosconova in the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes.
For his accomplishments, Gio Ponti was honored with an Eclipse Award as North America’s top turf male. Dominguez piloted the son of Tale of the Cat in all his 2010 starts, which included runner-up efforts in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, Arlington Million, and Woodford Reserve Manhattan (all gr. IT).
Dominguez, also the leading jockey on the New York Racing Association circuit the past two years, has already showed signs for a stellar 2011 by winning five races Jan. 8 at Aqueduct.
Still holding on to the leading rider spot into the New Year, he has captured 27 of 78 starts, for earnings of $701,777 through Jan. 16. In his career, Dominguez has won 4,304 races from 18,436 starts and earned $145,611,686. By Esther Marr