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Ramon Dominguez: Road to 5,000 Wins

Popular jockey and NYRA regular Ramon Dominguez is closing in on 5,000 career victories to kick off 2013. We visit with the Venezuelan superstar as he closes in on the important milestone.

 

Coming to America: January 18, 2013

NYRA Press Office

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dominguez has been riding in the United States since 1996, the year he relocated from Venezuela to Florida to begin a new phase of his riding career. His first day of competing in the United States came on March 18, 1996 at Hialeah Park, and he finished second aboard his lone mount that day, Solo Moondance, a 3-year-old filly, in a $10,000 claiming race.

Nine days later, he won his first race in the U.S. when he rode the same filly to victory in another $10,000 claimer at Hialeah.

“My first racetrack was Hialeah, which was a beautiful racetrack,” said Dominguez. “I had a great time. Once I had set foot in this country and got a taste of racing, I knew there wasn’t any going back for me as far as doing this professionally anywhere else. This is home for me now.”

Dominguez said he, like many other jockeys in South America, had long aspired to ride in the U.S.

“Most South American countries follow racing from the United States. From the beginnings of a jockey, that’s anybody’s long-term dream, to be able to come to the United States, and so was mine,” said Dominguez. “I raced as an apprentice for a little less than a year in Venezuela, and when I had the chance to come and expand and try in the United States, I did.”

Dominguez downplayed the difficulty of having to adapt to living in a new country.

“From Day 1, I felt like this was home,” said Dominguez. “I got accustomed to everything here pretty quickly. I was young enough where I molded to the differences pretty quickly. I was pretty impressed with how organized everything was, not only in the racing world but in the outside as well. I kind of liked that. I got used to living here pretty quickly. Being in Florida, it was sort of home for me, too. A lot of Hispanic people, so I didn’t feel like I was out of my element.”