04/23/2012 3:02PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Dominguez to ride Hansen

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Ramon Dominguez will ride Hansen in the Kentucky Derby, his agent Steve Rushing confirmed Monday afternoon.

Dominguez was the regular of both Hansen, last year’s 2-year-old champion and this year’s Gotham winner, and Alpha, this year’s Count Fleet and Withers winner and Wood Memorial runner-up.

Dominguez rode Hansen to victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He is 1 for3 on Hansen this year with a victory in the Gotham sandwiched between runner-up finishes in the Holy Bull and Blue Grass Stakes.

“Both horses have a lot of upside, I guess the deciding factor was Hansen ran so well at Churchill,” Rushing said. “They both had one race at Churchill and Hansen’s race was good and Alpha’s wasn’t. I know he acted up at the gate and I guess he bled. It was a tough call, it wasn’t a clear-cut choice. Both are very nice horses.”

Dominguez, the reigning two-time Eclipse Award-winning rider, is seeking his first victory in the Kentucky Derby. He is winless in eight Derby rides, his best result being a second-place finish aboard Bluegrass Cat in 2006.

Dominguez suffered a separated collarbone on March 18 and is winless in 26 mounts - with 10 second-place finishes - since returning to the saddle on April 6.

Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Alpha, said he learned about Dominguez’s decision upon arriving in South Carolina Monday afternoon to check on some of the 2-year-olds he trains for Shadwell Farm.

“I thought we had a shot at [Rafael] Bejarano, but he gave Todd [Pletcher] a call this morning on El Padrino so we’re shopping,” McLaughlin said.

Among those considered leading candidates to ride Alpha are Eddie Castro and Alan Garcia.

Ian GW More than 1 year ago
It will be Alan Garcia. I dont care for any horses that ran in the Wood. I hope alot bet Gemologist I dont like him at all. I watched his race at CD with Ever So lucky who he just beat and that horse isnt what he was all hyped up to be. U.Rags the best of them and will have the extra ground to get r done. I think FLA derby gonna be strong race on derby day.
stevejPS More than 1 year ago
What about Robby Albarado?! Its his turn after he got hurt and lost the mount on AK last year. Maybe it'd be karma of a kind
st More than 1 year ago
Can we finally settle on Alpha is overrated,, If this horse was any good they would have run it in Dubai. Lets face it the USA gets godolphins 2nd string
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Megan - Here is the real story. THEY don't want Dominguez on Alpha. He blew the ride in te last race. He rode Alpha with a bad shoulder and couldn't even change hands to whip the horse. He ran up on another horse on the firsr turn because he was weak and continued to whip him left-handed coming into the stretch, causing Alpha to drift. HIt is more like Hansen was chosen by Alpha's connections.
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
Steve--you are a dope--Ramon is the worlds best jockey--and he is the most desired ans sought after jockey there is today its a shame you didnt watch the Wood with the rest of us
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Strap a monkey on his back. It won't matter...W-I-N-N-E-R!!!
tazcat1973 More than 1 year ago
It's gonna be Eddie Castro
Nicholas Vaccarezza More than 1 year ago
i would give it to Rajiv
Nicholas Heaven More than 1 year ago
Very good decision Nick. Rajiv is a very good young rider who don't make alot of mistakes.
Jerry Ray More than 1 year ago
I would give either Rosie N. or Sutherland a shot if it were me as both are riding very good and could win this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rosie already has a mount in the 2012 Derby. Southerland great, but why not a Churchill Downs jock who knows and has feel for the course and plant. And physically there at CD to get a morning work.
TravisStone More than 1 year ago
Does this speak more to the talent of Hansen, or the concerns surrounding Alpha?
badolpuddytat More than 1 year ago
A Garcia rides for Karian BUT I would choose Shane Sellers!!! He ALSO knows Churchill Downs and rode in some huge races before!
Joe Tartaglia More than 1 year ago
Shane Sellers would be the perfect jockey...if it were 1996.
david smith More than 1 year ago
alan garcia is my choice