The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame's Executive Committee has unanimously approved a measure to designate retired jockey Ramon Dominguez as eligible for Hall of Fame consideration beginning in 2016. Dominguez, who announced his retirement in June 2013, suffered a career-ending injury at Aqueduct Racetrack in January 2013. Hall of Fame procedures require jockeys to be licensed in North America for 20 years to be eligible for consideration, but the Museum's Executive Committee has the option of waiving the requirement at its discretion based on special circumstances.
Jockeys who do not satisfy the 20-year requirement must typically wait five calendar years before they become eligible to be considered for the Hall of Fame. The requirement was waived in the case of Dominguez — who rode for 18 years (1996 through 2013) in North America — 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.
“We appreciate the sensitivity of the Executive Committee and Museum director Chris Dragone in responding to his unusual circumstance,” said Edward L. Bowen, chairman of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. “They all recognize that this is an appropriate use of the discretion given to the Executive Committee.”
Dominguez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He led all North American riders in earnings in each of those years (setting a single-year record for North American earnings in 2012 with $25,639,432, since surpassed by Javier Castellano). Dominguez also led all jockeys in wins in 2001 and 2003 and finished second on seven other occasions. According to Equibase statistics, Dominguez finished his career with 4,985 wins (23 percent) from 21,267 mounts and earnings of $191,620,277. He ranks 17th all time in earnings and 32nd in wins.
The National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame Nominating Committee will meet later this month to review the preliminary candidates and select the finalists for the Hall of Fame voting panel. The Hall of Fame finalists will be named in March and the inductees will be announced in April. The 2016 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Friday, Aug. 12 at 10:30 a.m. at Fasig-Tipton in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
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