Jockey Ramon Dominguez Forced to Retire as Result of Spill Injuries

Carlos TorresContributor IJune 13, 2013

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Ramon Dominguez smiles in the winner's circle after riding Little Mike to victory during the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on November 3, 2012 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Ramon Dominguez, the current three-time Eclipse Award Winner as Outstanding Jockey, was forced to retire from active racing as a result of the injuries sustained on a spill at Aqueduct on Jan. 18, 2013.

As reported by, he has been "advised by doctors that another spill could do more serious damage to him." Here’s Dominguez’s statement released by the New York Racing Association:

Riding thoroughbreds has always been my passion and my calling.  When I was 13 and watched my first horse race in Venezuela, I knew that I would become a jockey, and my riding career has brought happiness and success beyond what I ever expected.

Thus, it is extremely difficult for me to announce that due to the severity of the injuries I sustained in an accident at Aqueduct Racetrack on January 18, 2013, my professional riding career has come to an end.  While I hoped and even expected to be able to return to the saddle, as a result of my injuries and upon the advice of my treating physicians, it has been determined that I will no longer be able to pursue my career as a jockey.   

I want to personally thank my family, fans, and fellow riders for overwhelming support in the months since my accident.  I chose to make this statement to end speculation about my future, but I am not yet ready to speak publicly.  I will come forward on my own, but in the meantime I ask that you please respect my privacy as I continue my recovery.

This is a sad ending to the career of one of the most prolific jockeys in horse racing history. As of today, he ranked 14th on the all-time money list and had been ascending very quickly over the past few years.

Last year he establish a single-year record for earnings by a jockey with $25,634,852 on his way to his third straight Eclipse Award, joining Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey as the only jockeys to achieve the feat—Bailey did it twice.

Dominguez, a native of Venezuela, started riding at the Hipodromo La Rinconada located in Coche, a neighborhood in South Caracas, Venezuela at the age of 16. He would move his tack to Florida in 1996 and started riding in Hialeah Park.

He was a regular leading rider in the very contested New York circuit where he had won six races three times. The past three years he led the jockeys in earnings and had the most wins in 2001 and 2003.

Dominguez was the most dominant jockey in recent years, but never won a Triple Crown race. His best finishes were second in the 2006 Kentucky Derby on Bluegrass Cat, second in the 2004 Preakness on Scrappy T, and third in the 2010 Belmont on First Dude.

He did win three Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2004 Turf on Better Talk Now, the 2011 Juvenile on Hansen, and most recently the Turf last year when he upset the heavy favorite Point of Entry with his mount Little Mike.

His most recognized rides were multiple Grade 1 winners Gio Ponti and Havre de Grace. 

Dominguez was actively involved in the jockey community. He was also a member of the Jockey's Guild Board of Directors and its Eastern Region Senate. Last year he won the George Woolf Award, voted on by fellow jockeys and given to one who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct, on and off the racetrack.