Dominguez honored in winner's circle ceremony at Saratoga
By Jenny Kellner | 08/25/2013 04:57 PM ET
NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay, jockey Ramon Dominguez, NYRA TV host Richard Migliore and Keith Chamblin, senior vice-president of the NTRA
In an emotional ceremony in the winner's circle at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, retired jockey Ramon Dominguez was presented with the newly reinstituted Mike Venezia Award and the 2012 Eclipse Award trophy he was unable to accept last January.
The Venezia Award was created by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in 1989 to honor the memory of jockey Mike Venezia, who was killed in a racing accident in October, 1988 and given to the jockey who most exemplifies extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship. Last awarded to Hall of Famer Edgar Prado in 2006, it was presented to Dominguez by Venezia's daughter, Alison, and wife, Helene.
"I am humbled to receive this award," said Dominguez, 36, who retired in June after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a spill on January 18 at Aqueduct Racetrack. "What this award represents, I am very proud to be the recipient, for sure."
Dominguez, who won 4,985 races during his career, was given the Eclipse Award trophy as Outstanding Jockey - his third straight - by Keith Chamblin, senior vice-president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and Tom Pedulla, president of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, which vote for the award along with the Daily Racing Form. Jockeys John Velazquez and Javier Castellano accepted the award in January for Dominguez, who was recuperating from the spill.
With the entire Saratoga riding colony standing behind him, along with Hall of Famers Jerry Bailey and Angel Cordero, Jr., Dominguez also was presented with a $15,000 donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund given on his behalf.
"On behalf of the men and women of the New York Racing Association, we are so thrilled to be honoring you today, Ramon," said CEO & President Christopher Kay. "It is our pleasure and our honor to give a gift of $15,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund in the name of Ramon Dominguez."
Dominguez, accompanied by his wife, Sharon, and sons Alexander and Matthew, received several standing ovations from the fans at Saratoga, where he was the leading rider in 2009 and 2012. Last year, he won a record 68 races, including a dead-heat victory aboard Alpha in the Grade 1 Travers, and became only the second rider to ever win six races on a single card at the Spa, doing so on July 22 and September 2.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Dominguez was at the peak of his career when he retired, having set a single-year record for purse earnings in 2012 with $25,634,852. His 4,985 wins ranks 29th on the all-time list, and his $191,615,698 in purse money won places him 14th.