Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez, who retired in June due to the severity of injuries sustained in a spill at Aqueduct in January, will make a special appearance at Laurel Park next Saturday, Sept. 21. Live racing returns to the major Maryland tracks two days earlier after a 14-week break.
Dominguez, who was a regular rider at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course for five years earlier in his career, will be saluted with a winners' circle presentation after the second race. The Maryland Jockey Club will make a donation to Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) in his name. Dominguez will then conduct an autograph session in the grandstand from 2-3 p.m.
“I am doing pretty well,” said Dominguez this morning from his home on Long Island. “I have come a long way and am continuing in the recovery process.”
The Venezuela native arrived in Maryland in 2000 and won 1,012 races at the major Maryland tracks over the next five years, including 297 victories in 2001 when he finished atop the standings at all four meets. He finished first or second in the yearly jockey standings four times during his time in the Maryland colony. In 2003, he earned his first Grade 1 score when he guided A Huevo to victory in the 2003 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.
“That is a great memory for sure,” Dominguez said. “I rode the horse for Mike Dickinson. He was very talented and ran extremely well that day. It was one of those things that took a while to sink in but I am glad my first Grade 1 was at Laurel because that was home for me at the time.”
The $350,000 De Francis Dash tops the Sept. 21 card. The program also features five open stakes races on the turf course and the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-breds.
“It is extremely exciting for me to be there for many reasons. Maryland was one of the places where I had the most success and just to see so many friends will be special,” said Dominguez, who won 16 graded stakes races in the state during his career. “I am very much looking forward to it. It will bring back so many great memories.”
Dominguez, who has two young sons with his wife Sharon, retired with 4,985 career victories and earnings of $191.6 million. Last year, he earned his third consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation's best rider when he surpassed Jerry Bailey for the single-season record in North America with $25.6 million in earnings.
The 36-year-old is now devoting his time in assisting the PDJF, a 501 (c) (3) public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.
“I always knew how important the PDJF was but now I have a greater appreciation,” added Dominguez. “Unfortunately many injured riders do not have the money to pay for basic needs. Doing events like this one will help raise awareness for the organization. These athletes have given it all to the sport, so I am just contributing in any way I can so people can realize how important donations are. I am very passionate about this next chapter in my life.”
“It has been said many times but as good a rider as Ramon Dominguez was, he is an even a better person,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “He personified class both on and off the racetrack. Respected by his peers and beloved by fans, racing needs more role models like Ramon.”
Laurel Park Fall 2013 Promotional Schedule
Free admission, complimentary live program, $2 Natty Boh at the Boh Bar and $3 Natty Boh Brats, plus a chance to win upcoming event tickets.
Fall Festival of Racing
Seven stakes races including the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, T-shirt giveaway, chance to win one of seven $500 Win Wagers, Ramon Dominguez salute and autograph session, $2 Natty Boh at the Boh Bar, $3 Natty Boh Brats. Terrace Dining Buffet and gift bag for dining room guests. Grand opening of The Smoke House Grill (in food court) and concession & drink specials throughout the track.
Social media event with free Pilsner glass, $2 drafts and contests with prizes for all fans who like the Laurel Park Facebook page or follow @LaurelPark on Twitter. Handicapping seminar for advance registrants with complimentary continental breakfast.
An all-day fan education experience including a barn tour, behind-the-scenes visits with racing experts, wagering information and lunch. Reservation and advance payment required.
Champions Handicapping Tournament
Grand Prize is a $10,000 berth in the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge at the 2013 Breeders' Cup. Second and third place winners go to Las Vegas to compete in the Horse Player World Series.
10/5 – 10/6
Retired Racehorse Training Project's Thoroughbred Makeover & National Symposium at PIMLICO RACE COURSE
The first national gathering of organizations, farms and trainers who are increasing awareness and demand for Thoroughbreds after their racing career.
Celebrate the rich heritage of Thoroughbred racing in the state on Maryland's Day at the Races. Eleven live races, a cap giveaway, a variety of on-track events, including pony races, and a visit from Joey of War Horse fame, brought to life by puppeteers.
Oktoberfest Maryland Style
Maryland craft beers, German fare on the Buffet and Live Music on the Apron.
11/1 and 11/2
Breeders' Cup Weekend
Watch and wager on the two-day Breeders' Cup simulcast from Santa Anita Park, plus live action at Laurel Park.
Laurel's first race post time changes to 12:35 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Salute the Troops
Laurel Park salutes the military with free admission and food and beverage discounts for retired and active military personnel and a guest, plus a joint service color guard and historic military vehicle display. Card will feature four stakes races.
Brew & Bourbon Classic
A fun-filled afternoon of beer tasting and bourbon sipping. Visit www.brewandbourbonclassic.com for tickets. The live racing program will include four stakes races.
Coffee and Donuts to Laurel Park fans until 11:00 a.m. Pumpkin or Apple pies to fans at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course until supplies last. Special 11:15 a.m. post time for the live card.
$10,000 Giving Tree, 2014 MJC Calendar Giveaway and four stakes races.
Three stakes races highlight final Saturday card of the year.
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