Dominguez having big year

September 19, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

Ramon Dominguez is enjoying another successful campaign.

The talented 28-year-old jockey started 2004 by easily winning the Laurel Park winter meet and is in line to become the leading jockey at Delaware Park for the second straight year.

This spring and summer, he has also competed at the two New York racetracks - Saratoga and Belmont Park - and has done very well.

Through Sept. 13, Dominguez ranked second in the country in races won.

In 1,006 trips to the starting gate, the jockey showed 276 wins, 173 places and 169 shows and his horses had earned over $7.5 million.


Only Rafael Bejarano (348) had more wins.

Will Dominguez make Delaware, New York, Maryland or Florida his permanent home in 2005?

"I'll probably stay in Delaware until (November) but I haven't decided from there," Dominguez said. "I'll discuss things with my agent and we'll make a decision."

Whatever the decision, he's good enough to compete anywhere in the country, given the proper opportunity.

Against a very competitive jockey colony, Dominguez finished ninth at the Saratoga meeting - sporting 13 wins, three places and nine shows from 50 mounts. He's won 26 percent of his races and was in the money 50 percent of the time.

"I like New York racing," Dominguez said. "The competition is tough, but I like it. Lately, I've been riding mostly in Delaware and New York."

Trainers and owners from up and down the East Coast have sought his services for quite a while. The native of Caracas, Venezuela, has been successful since earning his jockey's license at the age of 16.

Dominguez rode his first race at La Rinconda in his native country in 1995. His first mount in the United States was at Hialeah in Miami in 1996.

He set the Delaware Park record for most wins by a jockey at a meet by notching 254 winners in 2003. He was the leading rider in North America in 2001 with 431 wins and 2003 with 453 wins.

Meeting extended

The Maryland State Racing Commission has approved the Maryland Jockey Club's request to extend the Pimlico summer-fall race meeting as reconstruction of the Laurel Park racing surfaces has fallen behind schedule because of inclement weather this summer.

The current stand was scheduled to end Oct. 11, but is now set to conclude Nov. 2.

Two $50,000 stakes races were added at Old Hilltop:

Sonny Hine Stakes (Oct.16) and Japan Racing Association (Oct. 23), as well as a pair of $75,000 two-year old state-bred stakes - Heavenly Cause and Rollicking - on Oct. 30.

The Laurel fall meet is expected to open on Nov. 4, running mainly on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule. The headline event for the nine-week meet is the Grade I, $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash on Nov. 20. The day features six stakes races, including a pair of Grade III's, Laurel Futurity and Anne Arundel, plus two other six-figure added money races, Selima and Charles H. Hadry Stakes.

Pony Tales

Mail Call is a popular feature in The Daily Mail, our evening newspaper.

Its horse racing namesake isn't doing bad, either.

Mail Call, a 6-year-old chestnut colt, has been to the starting gate 40 times and shows seven wins, five places and eight shows for career earnings of $237,720.

The son of Latin American - Miss Landers by Vaguely Noble - is trained by Greg Foley. The thoroughbred has been running on the turf for most of 2004 with starts at Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.

· The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's National Pick 4 wager will be offered again today.

The NTRA National Pick 4 Wager challenges fans to correctly select the winners of four graded stakes, including three Grade I events - the $1 million Atto Mile from Woodbine in Toronto; the $300,000 Matron Stakes from Belmont Park; and the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap from Belmont. Also part of the NTRA National Pick 4 is the Grade II, $300,000 Futurity Stakes from Belmont. All races will air live today on ABC at 4 p.m.

To bet on the NTRA National Pick 4, which carries a guaranteed pool of $400,000 and a $1 minimum wager amount, fans should ask for "National Pick 4."

The first of five NTRA National Pick 4 wagers to be offered this year was June 12 and returned $17,124.50. The second was offered July 3, with a $1 winning ticket returning $3,939.50, the third took place on Aug. 14 and resulted in a payout of $2,705 for a $1 wager.

· Maryland-based jockey Steve Hamilton is expected to miss one week after being tossed by Springtime Vision last Tuesday at Delaware Park. The 30-year-old rider suffered a head injury and is the fourth Maryland jockey on the injured list.

Erick Rodriguez (back), Christian Olmo (lungs) and Kaymarie Kreidel (broken right fibula) were all injured during the Timonium State Fair meet.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 etc. 2311 or by e-mail at

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