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Ramon A. Dominguez

Ramon A. Dominguez
Induction Year: 
Nov. 24, 1976, Caracas, Venezuela
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
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Talented, intelligent, determined and poised. Those are just a few of the many superlatives used to describe Ramon Dominguez on the racetrack. Classy, humble and engaging are additional traits commonly associated with one of the most popular jockeys and consummate professionals in all of thoroughbred racing during his era.


A winner of 4,985 career races, three consecutive Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey and a total of 20 individual meet riding titles at New York Racing Association tracks, Dominguez was consistently brilliant throughout his remarkable career in the irons. That excellence has earned Dominguez a spot in the National Museum of Racing’s 2016 Hall of Fame induction class.


Dominguez, 39, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won an impressive 23 percent of his races and had purse earnings of $191,620,277 in a North American career that began in 1996 and ended because of injury in 2013. Before making his move to the United States, Dominguez began to ride professionally at the age of 18 at La Rinconada in his native country. He secured his first North American win in March of 1996 at Hialeah Park in Florida.


“It’s just an incredible honor to be elected to the Hall of Fame. I cried when I got the call,” Dominguez said. “To be put in the same category as some of the best riders ever is very special and it’s the greatest honor in the sport. I am so thankful.”


Prior to establishing himself as a fixture on the NYRA circuit, Dominguez thrived at the Mid-Atlantic tracks. From 2004 through 2007, he was the leading rider at Delaware Park, where he rode his 3,000th winner in 2007. Dominguez also won multiple riding titles at both Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park in Maryland. 


After moving his tack to New York, Dominguez became the overall leading rider there each year from 2009 through 2012. The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Dominguez led all North American riders in earnings in 2012 with a record of $25,639,432 (breaking the previous mark established by Hall of Fame member Jerry Bailey in 2003). Dominguez led all jockeys in earnings in each of his Eclipse Award years. He also topped the national leaderboard in wins in 2001 and 2003 and was second in that category seven times.


In 2012, Dominguez set another record with 68 wins at Saratoga Race Course. On July 22 of that year he became only the second rider in Saratoga’s history to win six races on a single card, joining Hall of Famer John Velazquez. The prior year, Dominguez became the first rider since Hall of Famer Jorge Velasquez in 1981 to win six races on a single Belmont Park card. In 2010, Dominguez won his 4,000th career race in March at Aqueduct Racetrack. Less than a month before, he won the first five races on a card at Aqueduct.


“I got to ride some really good horses and they’re the biggest reason I had success,” Dominguez said. “I was also fortunate to have the trust of a lot of good trainers and a great agent in Steve Rushing. If you work hard, study your craft and realize that you can always get better then I think you will have a good chance to succeed. I always thought I had room to improve.”


Overall, Dominguez won 160 graded races in his career, including 44 Grade 1 events. Twenty-five of those Grade 1 wins took place during his Eclipse-winning years. Dominguez won three Breeders’ Cup races: the 2004 Turf (Better Talk Now), 2011 Juvenile (Hansen) and 2012 Turf (Little Mike) and was the regular rider of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. His other top mounts included champions Gio Ponti and Hansen, as well as Alpha, Stay Thirsty, Fabulous Strike, Eight Belles, Better Talk Now, Haynesfield and Bluegrass Cat.


Dominguez had success in many of America’s most prestigious races. He won multiple editions of the Man o’ War Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, Beldame Stakes, Remsen Stakes and Arlington Million, as well as single runnings of the Travers Stakes, Sword Dancer Invitational, Wood Memorial, Hollywood Derby, Suburban Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Apple Blossom Handicap, Cigar Mile, Flower Bowl Invitational, Gotham Stakes, Spinaway Stakes, Hopeful Stakes and Woodward Stakes, among others.


At the time of his retirement, Dominguez ranked 17th all time in career earnings and 32nd in wins.