Dominguez Wins 6, Including G3 Saranac; Establishes Saratoga Meet Victory Record
By Jon Forbes | 09/02/2012 05:29 AM ET
Jockey Ramon Dominguez won six races on Sunday, including a 10-1 upset in the Grade 3, $150,000 Saranac aboard Unbridled Command, establishing a Saratoga Race Course meet record in the process.
With one day remaining in the 40-day meet, Dominguez, the two-time reigning Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey, has won 66 races. The previous record for wins by a jockey during the Saratoga meet was set by Hall of Famer John Velazquez in 2004. That year, Velazquez won 65 races during the meet, but one of his winners, Tales of Glory, trained by Todd Pletcher, was disqualified after the meet concluded upon testing positive for a banned substance. Velazquez’s official win total for 2004 stands at 64.
With his big day on Sunday, Dominguez became the first jockey to win six races on a single Saratoga card on two separate occasions, having won six races on July 22. Velazquez was the first to win six races in one day at Saratoga, having achieved the feat on September 3, 2001.
Unbridled Command gave Dominguez his sixth win on Sunday by racing in fifth as free-running Skyring set fast fractions of 22.51, 46.35, and 1:10.80, launching a rally between horses midway on the final turn, claiming a narrow lead at the head of the stretch, and digging in late to defeat the pacesetter by a half-length.
“I was focusing on giving [Unbridled Command] the best ride that I could and getting the most from him,” said Dominguez. “Coming to the three-eighths pole, when I was able to squeeze in between horses, he gave me a great kick. I knew I wasn’t already there, but I was excited. It was neat. When I passed the wire, it was one of those [moments] to take a second to let all of it sink in.”
Unbridled Command completed the 1 1/8 miles of the Saranac, a turf race for 3-year-olds, in 1:46.54 and returned $22.60 for a $2 win wager.
“I actually think the horse would have been 15-1 or 16-1 if it wasn’t for Ramon riding,” said winning trainer Tom Bush. “I was very fortunate to get him. You’re always in good hands in the big races when you can get the top riders, and he’s obviously the best.”
Overall, Unbridled Command, a Lakland Farm color-bearer, is 4-1-2 in eight starts. The $90,000 winner’s share of the Saranac purse lifted his earnings to $214,040.
Other meet highlights for Dominguez have included wins in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 1 Travers (the latter via dead heat) aboard Alpha and four-win days on August 9 and August 13.
Dominguez has already clinched his second Angel Cordero, Jr. Saratoga riding title as he leads Javier Castellano by 17 races going into Monday’s card. Including his 2009 and 2012 Saratoga titles, Dominguez has been the leading rider at 18 NYRA meets and has topped the year-end NYRA jockey standings the past three years.
Favored Lucky Chappy was third in the Saranac, followed by King Kreesa, Excaper, Set the Sail, Starforce, Quick Wit, Spring to the Sky, and Shkspeare Shaliyah.