Weekend Interview: Ramon Dominguez

- -

Three years removed from officially retiring from the saddle, three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez got some good news this week. The news came from Saratoga Springs, where Dominguez once tied the Saratoga Race Course record with six winners on a single card and where he won the riding title in 2009 and 2010. He is now eligible for Hall of Fame consideration starting this year.

The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame’s executive committee voted unanimously to make Dominguez eligible, bypassing a requirement that jockeys be licensed in North America for 20 years to be considered. Dominguez, who rode 4,985 winners in his career, rode for 18 years in North America from 1996 to 2013. The Hall of Fame made the decision “because he would have satisfied the requirement in 2015 and would have been eligible for Hall of Fame consideration beginning this year if not for the career-ending injury.”

Humble as ever, Dominguez is in no hurry to write an induction speech even though he’ll be strongly considered when the voting is conducted later this spring. In addition to his 4,985 victories, Dominguez won on 23 percent of his mounts and racked up $191,620,277 in career earnings. On racing’s all-time lists he ranks 17th by earnings and 32nd by victories.

This Is Horse Racing: Congratulations on the news this week that you are eligible for consideration into the Hall of Fame.
Ramon Dominguez: Thanks. I’m very excited that it’s a possibility and at least that I’m considered to be eligible. That is something I’m very excited and honored to at least be in this position.”

TIHR: When did you find out, did you get a call from the Hall of Fame?
I found out by a friend (Wednesday).

TIHR: I read something on social media the other day that said you were a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I know there are a lot of people that feel that way. Do you have any reaction to a statement like that?
RD: I haven’t even really tried to think about anything. I’m super excited. It’s such an honor but at the same time I’m just taking it day by day and I’m still, wow, still in shock that I’m in this position. But I don’t want to explore anything even farther.

TIHR: You’ve won the Eclipse Award three times and so many races, if you could dare to dream if you did get elected, where would election rank in your life?
RD: Again, that’s something I wouldn’t even want to put out there or think about.

TIHR: You’ve been retired more than three years now, what keeps you busy these days?
RD: I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and working on other projects. Everything is very well. I’m able to catch up with the time that I missed out, especially with my kids, so yes, everything is going well.

TIHR: I know you don’t do a lot of interviews but one that I read from a few years back you mentioned how you were starting jogging. Are you still doing that?
RD: Yes, I have been jogging pretty much every day.

TIHR: You’ve been up to Saratoga a few times for some of the events honoring retired riders in recent years, do you get to the races much? Do you miss it at all?
RD: I do not go to the races often these days. I’ve had the opportunity to go quite a few times in Saratoga last year and it’s something I obviously enjoy for many reasons. I get to see a lot of my friends and I’m planning on going to visit Saratoga quite often this year.

TIHR: You won 4,985 races. Do you have a personal favorite?
RD: There are so many you know. Winning the Breeders’ Cups. That’s high on the list for any jockey, so they are for me the biggest accomplishments and my greatest memories. And winning the Eclipse Award was very special.