11/12/2012 12:13PM

Dominguez breaks record for annual earnings by a jockey

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Barbara D. Livingston
Entering the week, Ramon Dominguez's mounts have earned $23,739,189, breaking the record held by Jerry Bailey.

With no fanfare, Ramon Dominguez set the record for most purses earned by a jockey in one year when he guided Smokin Candy to a second-place finish in a $25,000 claiming race on Friday at Aqueduct, according to records maintained by Equibase.

With the $7,680 second-place purse, Dominguez surpassed the record of $23,354,960, set in 2003 by Jerry Bailey, by approximately $3,500. By the time the weekend was over, Dominguez had added another $400,000 in earnings to the record, finishing Sunday’s card at Aqueduct with $23,739,189 in purse earnings.

On Monday, Dominguez said that he was aware he was approaching the record but that he had lost track of the figure after the Breeders’ Cup weekend on Nov. 2-3.

“It feels great,” Dominguez said. “It’s one of those personal accomplishments that you dream about.”

Entering the week, Dominguez had 306 wins this year, 100 more than when Bailey set the record in 2003. While Bailey was picking his spots judiciously at that point of his career – he set the record with just 776 mounts – Dominguez remains one of the busiest riders in racing, with 1,299 mounts this year, second to Javier Castellano among leading riders.

In addition, Dominguez has been based in New York the entire year, riding on a circuit where the already high purses have been further buoyed by payments from a casino located at Aqueduct. The top three riders by earnings this year all ride on the New York circuit.

“I really don’t like to compare my record with Jerry’s,” Dominguez said. “They were really different eras. The money is just so much better right now.”

Dominguez has topped the earnings list for the past two years and is virtually assured of topping the list again this year. His nearest competitor is Castellano with $20,567,123 in earnings, also through Sunday.

During Breeders’ Cup weekend, Dominguez won the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf on Little Mike, adding $1.62 million to his earnings this year.

The last rider to exceed $23 million in earnings was Garrett Gomez, who in 2008 just missed breaking Bailey’s record by a little over $10,000.

Dominguez said he plans to take a break when Aqueduct closes for a nine-day period prior to Christmas this year. But other than that holiday, he plans to ride every day at Aqueduct through the end of 2012.

“Riding a lot is something you get used to,” Dominguez said.