10/19/2011 2:03PM

Breeders' Cup: Dominguez in demand for Ladies' Classic

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Ramon Dominguez rides Aruna to victory in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez is a man in demand for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. He is the regular rider of Havre de Grace, and though she is far more likely to run against males in the Classic on Nov. 5, his assignment for this race is not nailed down. And it’s getting more complicated.

Dominguez also rides Aruna, who won the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland last time out. Her participation in the Ladies’ Classic will hinge on how she does in a workout on the Churchill Downs main track on Oct. 28, trainer Graham Motion said Wednesday. If Aruna runs in the Ladies’ Classic, it will be her first race on dirt.

And trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has reached out to Dominguez and his agent, Steve Rushing, about using Dominguez on It’s Tricky, who now needs a rider as a result of her regular jockey, Eddie Castro, recently suffering a hairline fracture to his back.

“We’ve asked Ramon Dominguez if he wanted to pilot her, and his agent said if Havre de Grace runs, he’s obviously riding her,” McLaughlin said Wednesday. “If Aruna runs, we’ll be in search of a rider. We’re going to wait and give him a couple of days.”

It’s Tricky worked at Belmont Park on Tuesday, and will have another work there toward the end of next before heading by van to Churchill Downs. Because It’s Tricky is a notoriously high-strung filly, McLaughlin thought it prudent to go by van rather than plane.

“With her reputation and personality, getting on a van, then off a van, then on a plane, then off plane, then on a van, then off a van – all that on and off – didn’t seem like a good option compared to just putting her on a van and going overnight,” McLaughlin said.

If Dominguez is not available, options for McLaughlin could include John Velazquez and even Joel Rosario, who came open Wednesday when Lady’s Secret winner Zazu was taken out of consideration for the race.

As for Aruna, she is following the same trajectory as Animal Kingdom, whose participation in the Kentucky Derby was not secured until he worked quite sharply over the Churchill Downs main track the weekend before the race. That worked out pretty well for Motion.

But because that final work for Aruna won’t take place until after pre-entries are due on Monday, Motion said Aruna would be pre-entered in both the Ladies’ Classic and the Filly and Mare Turf.

“I’m on the fence, 50-50,” Motion said. “Part of the decision is that hopefully Ramon can ride her. He’s ridden her in all her races. And I would lose him in the Filly and Mare Turf. That bears consideration.”

Dominguez already is booked to ride Stacelita in the Filly and Mare Turf, Rushing said.