Ramon Dominguez

Ramon Dominguez


Dominguez to be Saluted at Laurel Sept. 21

Retired three-time Eclipse Award winner had five great seasons in Maryland.

Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez, who retired in June due to the severity of injuries sustained in a spill at Aqueduct Racetrack in January, will make a special appearance at Laurel Park Sept. 21.

Live racing returns to the major Maryland tracks two days earlier after a 14-week break.

Dominguez, who was a regular rider at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course for five years earlier in his career, will be saluted with a winners' circle presentation after the second race. The Maryland Jockey Club will make a donation to Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund in his name. Dominguez will then conduct an autograph session in the grandstand from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT.

"I am doing pretty well," said Dominguez Sept. 11. "I have come a long way and am continuing in the recovery process."

The Venezuela native arrived in Maryland in 2000 and won 1,012 races at the major Maryland tracks over the next five years, including 297 victories in 2001 when he finished atop the standings at all four meets. He finished first or second in the yearly jockey standings four times during his time in the Maryland colony. In 2003, he earned his first grade I score when he guided A Huevo to victory in the 2003 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

"That is a great memory for sure," Dominguez said. "I rode the horse for Mike Dickinson. He was very talented and ran extremely well that day. It was one of those things that took a while to sink in but I am glad my first grade I was at Laurel because that was home for me at the time."

The $350,000 De Francis Dash tops the Sept. 21 card. The program also features five open stakes races on the turf.

"It is extremely exciting for me to be there for many reasons. Maryland was one of the places where I had the most success and just to see so many friends will be special," said Dominguez, who won 16 graded stakes races in the state during his career. "I am very much looking forward to it. It will bring back so many great memories."

Dominguez, who has two young sons with his wife Sharon, retired with 4,985 career victories and earnings of $191.6 million. Last year, he earned his third consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation's best rider when he surpassed Jerry Bailey for the single-season record in North America with $25.6 million in earnings.

The 36-year-old is now devoting his time in assisting the PDJF, a public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

"I always knew how important the PDJF was but now I have a greater appreciation," added Dominguez. "Unfortunately many injured riders do not have the money to pay for basic needs. Doing events like this one will help raise awareness for the organization. These athletes have given it all to the sport, so I am just contributing in any way I can so people can realize how important donations are. I am very passionate about this next chapter in my life."

"It has been said many times but as good a rider as Ramon Dominguez was, he is an even a better person," said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. "He personified class both on and off the racetrack. Respected by his peers and beloved by fans, racing needs more role models like Ramon."

Dominguez also scored a grade I win in Maryland with Horse of the Year Invasor in the 2006 Pimlico Special, and won the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) five times.