Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dominguez Gets 300th NYRA Win


Ramon Dominguez

Jockey Ramon Dominguez became just the fifth rider to reach the 300-win plateau in a single year on The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s circuit, guiding Bon Marie to victory in the fifth race Friday afternoon at Belmont Park.

Four riders have scored more than 300 wins in a single year at Aqueduct Race Track, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, two of them twice. Steve Cauthen holds the record at 433 victories in 1977.

Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, Jr., won 340 races in 1982 and 309 in 1983, while fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith brought home 330 winners in 1991 and 313 in 1993. In 2006, Eibar Coa won 303 races.

“It feels great,” Dominguez said after riding Michael Dubb and Robert Joscelyn’s Bon Marie ($4.80) for trainer Anthony Dutrow. “When the year starts, you don’t target anything like this. The days roll along, and you start winning races and you hit 300. It’s something to be proud of, especially in New York.

“I’m very excited, especially with this being my first time year-round here. I couldn’t have dreamed of it.”

Earlier this year, Dominguez set a modern-day record for victories at Belmont Park’s spring/summer meet with 98 winners. Cordero held the mark for most victories since records were first kept, bringing home 92 winners during the 1982 Belmont Park spring/summer meet.

Dominguez, who moved his tack to New York from the Mid-Atlantic circuit earlier this year, is currently NYRA’s leading rider, having won the title at Saratoga Race Course for the first time as well as Aqueduct Racetrack’s inner track and spring meet.

Dominguez has 300 winners from 1,229 mounts in New York this year, with more than $11.8 million in purses. He is winning with 24.5 percent of his mounts. Nationally, he ranks second in wins, behind Russell Baze, and is first in total purse earnings with more than $13.5 million.

A native of Venezuela, Dominguez came to the United States in 1995 and rode his first winner in March of 1996. Beginning in 2007, he divided his time between New York and Delaware Park, where he won five riding titles in 11 years, before moving to New York for good this spring with his wife, Sharon, and two children, Alexander and Matthew.