Ramón Alfredo Domínguez
The Caracas native who shocked the equestrian world with his talent and exalted Venezuela.
Born on November 24, 1976 in the Venezuelan Capital, the son of Alfredo Domínguez and Belkys Del Moral de Domínguez, never thought he would go so far.
From a young age he proved to be a fan of horse racing.
His family lived in the state of Aragua during the first years of the athlete’s life.
There his equine passion begins to take shape. In fact, being in that region of the country he buys a pregnant mare with a cousin.
In the company of a cousin, they pay Bs. 3,000.
Ramon used to ride it at times.
“I remember that he did not use a chair, and from then on I thought that he had the conditions to become a rider one day,” commented his father Alfredo on one occasion, “although at first I was opposed to him being a rider, later I supported him in every way.”
“I remember that he did not use a chair, and from then on I thought that he had the conditions to become a rider one day,” said his father Alfredo on one occasion, “although at first I was opposed to him being a rider, later I supported him in every way.”
Ramon Alfredo Dominguez
The first person he sees riding the Caracas native is former jockey Félix Sabino Pérez.
To all these Ramón Alfredo Domínguez takes his initial steps in the Casupito Training Center, in Villa de Cura.
It should be noted that in that place there was a riding school whose teacher was “Pino” Francisco Martínez.
He graduated from high school at the age of 16 and then traveled to the Hippodrome of Paraguaná, in Punto Fijo, Falcón state.
That stage of his life is hard, since he lived in a small bar, next to a pig, carrying sacks and cleaning horses.
Later he continued his studies at the María Blanca Training Center, where in a year he finished perfecting his skills.
However, it is in that period that he receives help from coach Luis Fontes, breeder Rafael Rodríguez Navarro (President at that time of the National Institute of Hippodromes) and ex-jockey Antonio José Utrera.
Ramón Alfredo Domínguez obtains the registration as a rider and his secretary is “Topo Gigio” Luis Moreno.
The Creole achieves his first triumph with the mare Lady Mercy, an example trained by Luis Francisco Martín, on March 25, 1995 at the Hipódromo La Rinconada.
However, the Caracas native wanted to go for more and his sights were set on the United States.
The North American circuits had become the challenge to be overcome by this jockey.
Travel to the United States
Prior to his trip to North America, the Creole says goodbye to Venezuela with a triumph over Sinless.
The horse was trained by Daniel Perez.
After his departure the talent grows and the expectations with this young jockey are more than exceeded.
By 1996 he was racing on American soil and got his first win in March with Solo Moondance at Hialeah Park, Florida.
During that year he achieved 55 victories. And the good was about to begin.
His career booms and he remains a winning jockey at Delaware Park during the years 1997 and 1998.
By 1999 he surpassed the barrier of 100 wins.
He finishes the season with 121 wins and more than 3 million dollars.
But it is in the year 2000 when his potential is maximized by winning 360 times.
That year he won his first classic, the 2000 Royal North Stakes, with the horse Confessional.
The rise of the Venezuelan continues to increase, it does not stop for nothing … It is advancing by leaps and bounds.
During the 2001 season Ramón Alfredo Domínguez took the title for races won in the United States.
Since he obtains 431 victories, the same happens in 2003, when he rises with 453 victories.
The 2,000th triumph of his career was achieved in June 2004, in addition to his first Breeder’s Cup, with Better Talk Now.
His great ability as a rider is awarded the Isaac Murphy Award as the jockey with the highest percentage of wins.
Walter Blum (former rider and currently a commissioner in Florida) told a journalist that “Ramón Alfredo had enough conditions to succeed in American hipism.”
In 2006 Ramón Alfredo is victorious in 5 races in a meeting of Aqueduct Racetrack, and two months later with Bluegrass Cat he achieves the second place (behind Bárbaro) in the Kentucky Derby.
A year later, 2007, he repeats the feat after winning 5 races at an Aqueduct meeting and by May 9 he counted his 3000th triumph.
With all this trajectory we can not leave aside that Dominguez is the leading rider of Delaware Park from 2004 to 2007.
In the 2009 season the Caracas native has a full presence in the New York Racing Association (NYRA).
What’s more, it could not be better that season, since he won all the statistics of that circuit.
It begins with the first two in Aqueduct, then at the end of July 2009, Ramón Alfredo Domínguez graduates for the first time in Belmont Park.
In this way he sets a record of 98 wins, surpassing the mark of Puerto Rican Angel Cordero Jr, of 92 victories.
“I’m very proud. Imagine, beating a select group like Edgar Prado or John Velásquez is sensational. There are very good riders here,” adds the Caracas native in an interview.
Best in Saratoga
Venezuela was a common word those days (2009), Ramón Alfredo Domínguez continued to make history.
And it is that it wins all the statistics in Saratoga, being this one of the most competitive on the planet.
Meanwhile, on October 6, 2009, he led Bon Marie to victory at Belmont Park.
With such a triumph he is consecrated as the fifth rider in history to win 300 races at the NYRA racetracks.
His feat equals American Steve Cauthen (1977), Puerto Rican Angel Cordero Jr (1982 and 1983), American Mike Smith (1991 and 1993) and Eibar Coa Monteverde (who achieved the feat in 2006).
At this stage of his career the Caracas native is nominated for the first time for the Eclipse Award, however, the award goes to Julien Leparoux.
Great money maker
The Venezuelan jockey receives 2010 with the certainty of knowing that he is the leader of money earned in North America.
Ramón Alfredo adds US$16,911,880, something that no Creole had achieved in equestrian history.
That same year he achieved 369 victories with 1,474 examples driven, including his 4,000th triumph, on March 19, at Aqueduct.
Although his most important award in 2010 was with Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
His brilliant career is recognized for 2011 with the Eclipse Award.
Since then he is the first Venezuelan rider to be awarded that distinction.
In November 2012 Ramón Alfredo Domínguez, is winner for the third time in a test of the famous Breeders’ Cup.
And for the tenth consecutive year he reaches the figure of 300 triumphs, after winning with Sage Valley in the Mr. Nasty Stakes, an event played at Aqueduct.
That year he leaves behind the 23 million 354 thousand 960 dollars reached by Jerry Bailey in 2003 and becomes the rider with the highest generation of money.
In fact, it closes 2012 with a record of US$25,582,252.
Accident and retirement
The spectacular career of this Venezuelan athlete is overshadowed by a fall that almost takes his life.
A skull fracture, which kept him held in the Intensive Care Unit of a New York hospital, put an end to the Creole whip.
It was the year 2013 and the Caracas native won the Eclipse Award again as best rider.
Only this time he could not receive him in person, but in his honor, jockeys Javier Castellano (Venezuela) and John Velázquez (Puerto Rico) were there who received him for him.
Both athletes thanked the gesture and dedicated words of encouragement to the relatives of the great Caracas.
He was later awarded the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award, a prize awarded by the Jockey’s Guild for his performance during the 2012 campaign.
By June 2013 the rider had managed to rehabilitate himself and everyone expected him to return to racing, however, he announced his retirement.
The reason was obvious, if he fell again and hit his skull the consequences would be worse.
So, with all the pain involved in the decision he opts for his life and says goodbye to his career as a jockey.
Ramón Alfredo Domínguez earned the respect and admiration of American hip-hop.
He said goodbye with his head held high and 16 spectacular seasons, time in which he rode 21,267 thoroughbreds in the different racetracks of that country.
He earned 4,985 wins, 3,855 second places, 3,159 third places in addition to a production of $191,615,697 for horse owners.
A figure that ranked it 14th all-time in money production.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame
After a sports career like that they decide that this Venezuelan, Ramón Alfredo Domínguez, must receive the highest honor.
Thus, on April 25, 2016, Ramón Alfredo Domínguez receives a well-deserved place in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Being the first rider from Venezuela to receive such an award.
National Museum Of Racing And Hall Of Fame
Among fans it is known simply as “Hall of Fame”.
In the Hall of Fame, Ramon Alfredo Dominguez rubs shoulders with names of the caliber of Russell Baze and Ted Atkinson.
In this room images, photos and sculptures of the great highlights of the American equestrian are exhibited. Here not only the work of the riders is recognized. In the salon we can find the recognition of the best horses and trainers every year. There we can find all kinds of activities, recognitions and collections such as:
- A collection of American equestrian trophies.
- Sculptures of horses and riders
- Paintings of horses and related to horse riding
- Historical photographs
- Sketches and various artistic works.
- Collection of films and digitized news related to horse racing.
- A collection of souvenirs and items from different times.
This museum was designed to preserve the history of American equestrian in all its aspects. Even there you can watch the digitized videos of some of the most famous historical victories.
The museum was founded in 1950 and is in Saratoga Springs, a city located in eastern New York.
To visit it as a family, the museum has entertainment for all ages. Without a doubt, it is a way to preserve the historical memory of the American equestrian, which has had so much influence. In addition, it is a way to entertain and learn at the same time.
Other Venezuelans in the Hall of Fame
One of the best-known riders who made Venezuelans proud by entering the equestrian hall of fame was Javier Castellanos. Coincidentally Javier Castellanos was one of the riders who received the eclipse 2012 award on behalf of Ramón Alfredo Domínguez the Eclipse award, still affected by the accident he had and led him to his retirement.
Javier Castellanos, 39 years old, won the eclipse award in four consecutive years, from 2013 to 2016. With this he joined the select group that is part of the Hall of Fame of the American hipica along with Ramón Alfredo Domínguez.
Javier Castellanos was elected to the hall of fame alongside another Latin legend of American horse riding, Mexican Victor Espinoza.
It is as if Javier Castellanos had taken over from Ramón Alfredo Domínguez to continue the winning streak at the Eclipse awards.
Without a doubt, Venezuelans left their mark on the hall of fame and the American equestrian between 2010 and 2016 where all the eclipse awards were won by Ramón Alfredo Domínguez and Javier Castellanos.
The legacy of Ramón Alfredo Domínguez
Recently, the name of Ramón Alfredo Domínguez came to our ears again. The spiritual grandson of Ramón Alfredo Domínguez, the saint-wear saint achieved a fabulous victory in his debut.
Saint Tapit is the son of stallion and classic winner TAPIT and mare HAVRE DE GRACE who was the winning mare of the year. Both horses were driven by Venezuelan Ramón Alfredo Domínguez, and he feels them as his “children”.
In this way the name of our Ramón Alfredo Domínguez continues to shine through the horses he drove and his children.
Without a doubt, the legacy of our Ramon Alfredo Domínguez will continue for a long time with us.
Gustavo Mirabal wants to make known the best of horses and Venezuelans. That is why on their websites we can find articles to know about legends such as Russell Baze or Javier Castellanos. Follow us on our social networks such as YouTube, Instagram or Twitter for more interesting information about horses or financial advice.