Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jockeys rally to support one another

OLDSMAR — The dream of riding thoroughbreds began the second Ramon Dominguez saw his first race in Caracas, Venezuela. It ended in a New York minute.

Related News/Archive

Dominguez was atop the racing world in January 2013. He was coming off his third consecutive Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey, a third straight North American earnings title, and was named winner of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, given to the rider who demonstrates top standards of conduct presented by Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

But after 4,985 career wins and $191,615,697 in purse earnings, Dominguez's 21,267th mount would be his final one. In a Jan. 18 race at Aqueduct in Jamaica, N.Y., his horse Convocation clipped heels with a rival. Dominguez was sent to the dirt, kicked by another horse and sustained a traumatic brain injury. He was hospitalized three weeks, and announced his retirement four months later.

"It was the physicians' decision," Dominguez said. "(Riding) is something that will always be in my blood. I feel blessed and extremely fortunate to be able to have done it for as long as I did (19 years)."

Dominguez, 37, will be the featured speaker today at the inaugural Jockeys and Jeans fundraiser for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund at Tampa Bay Downs (PDJF). Dominguez, a winner of three Breeders' Cup races, will be among 40 Hall of Fame riders and former greats in attendance. The roster includes Walter Blum, Diane Crump, Pat Day, Barbara Jo Rubin and Jacinto Vasquez.

Former Downs leading apprentice Mike Straight, who was paralyzed in a 2009 spill, and Eibar Coa, whose career ended following a 2011 fall, are among ex-riders to be honored.

Eddie Donnally, a Clearwater resident and former jockey who helped organize the event, said the fundraiser will take place in the paddock tent beginning at 11 a.m. with a luncheon. An auction featuring racing memorabilia and a photograph session follow with Dominguez speaking afterward. The public is invited and tickets can be purchased at the tent. For information, go to An autograph session at 3 p.m. is slated in the grandstand.

"What makes this really different is that it is being organized by former jockeys for our fallen brothers and sisters," Donnally said. "It takes a lot of guts to ride a race horse, but it takes more guts to rebuild your life (following a catastrophic injury)."

Dominguez said he has been enjoying time with his wife Sharon and sons Alex, 9, and Matthew, 7, at their residence in Floral Park, N.Y.

"I have a couple of (employment) things in the works, and I love participating or helping in any capacity I can with PDJF," he said. "That's one way I am connected to the game."

DOGS: The $80,000 Distance Classic begins qualifying today at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg in Races 4, 6, 8 and 10.

Jockeys rally to support one another 03/28/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December


    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  3. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus


    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.
  4. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick


    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.