For Ramon Dominguez, improving upon his stellar 2010 campaign was a tall task, since he topped the jockey standings with more than $16.9 million in earnings and won 19 graded races, including five in grade I events en route to his first Eclipse Award.
But the Venezuelan-born rider picked up right where he left off at the start of the new season and somehow even bettered his performance. The end results were 2011 numbers that dwarfed those from the previous year and a second consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation’s top rider.
He received 197 first-place votes. John Velazquez, the runner-up, had 30 votes with Javier Castellano receiving 14 first-place votes.
For the year Dominguez accumulated more than $20.5 million in earnings, which was more than $2 million more than Velazquez. He also notched 27 graded stakes victories, including 10 in grade I company—both well exceeding his output from 2010. One of those grade I tallies came in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he guided champion 2-year-old male Hansen to an upset victory over favored Union Rags.
Dominguez’ super season included 348 wins from 1,426 mounts, which was second behind DeShawn Parker’s win total of 400.
Dominguez, 35, captured his third consecutive New York Racing Association title. He set a NYRA record for consecutive winners when he won seven straight races Dec. 14-15 at Aqueduct. On June 5 at Belmont Park, he became the first jockey in more than 13 years to win six races on a single NYRA card.
Other than Hansen, one of Dominguez’ biggest victories came in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, where he guided Horse of the Year Havre de Grace to a win over males.