Wonder why we miss him…

- -

Every year, as you gear up, pack up for Saratoga, you can’t help but think of what’s the same, what’s different, who’s returning, who’s missing. This year, it won’t be the same without Ramon Dominguez. From the perspective of a horseman, a journalist, a fan, a friend…I’ll miss his long hold in the race and articulate answers after. Back to the archives, I found this from Saratoga 2009, when Ramon was at the top and planning on staying there.

“It changes so fast, you don’t want to get too excited, I feel better being in front than chasing. I know everything in this business cycles, especially with jockeys. On one hand, I’m used to riding with these guys, I see them every day so I don’t think about it too much, then sometimes I’m like, ‘Wow, these are the guys I’ve idolized since I’ve been coming here.’ You’re not star-shocked any more, but you respect them.

“I understand there are ups and downs, and everybody deals with them but I don’t want any of them to be seen like they’re slacking off, because I know for sure, they’re as good as they’ve ever been. Whatever you do out there, your performances are just a reflection, 99 percent of the time, on the horses you get on. It would be foolish for someone to say you’re doing better than so and so because you’re a better rider, that’s not the case.

“I’m fortunate I’m getting on the best horses probably, so as a result I’m winning more races than some of the other guys. But this is such a competitive colony that any of the guys given the right horse and they’re going to get it done. Edgar and Johnny are doing good, but just because they’re not competing for leading rider right now doesn’t mean they won’t be at the next Belmont meeting.

“It’s Saratoga, right now you have Hall of Famers and you have a lot of  young riders, I heard someone say, future Hall of Famers. There are no easy pickings.”