11/28/2007 12:00AM

Dominguez gears up for winter gig

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Ramon Dominguez made the four-hour drive from his Maryland home to Aqueduct on Wednesday morning and immediately made his presence felt by riding Moon Jumper ($6.10) to victory in the first race of the inner-track meet. He would go on to win two races from six mounts on the card.

"It always excites me to come to New York to ride,'' Dominguez said Wednesday morning just after renewing his New York jockey's license. "I said it many times, it doesn't get better than New York racing.''

Though considered a Mid-Atlantic rider, Dominguez has made himself right at home in New York over the years. He has been the second-leading rider at each of the last two inner -track meets despite missing a month each winter. He finished fourth at the 2007 Saratoga meet with 28 winners. Six of Dominguez's 14 graded stakes victories in 2007 have come in New York, including all three of his Grade 1 scores. With his two wins Wednesday, he has a total of 134 on the New York Racing Association circuit, fourth best.

"Although I'm not here full time, I'm still here four months in the winter, and this year I went to Saratoga for the whole meet, so it's not like I'm completely out of New York,'' Dominguez said.

Dominguez has often been asked about coming to New York to ride full time, but with a wife and two young children - his sons Alexander and Matthew are 3 and 17 months - he's a little reluctant at this point.

"The only thing that really keeps me from making the full-time move has been my family and I guess trying to get used to living here in New York, which seems very different than I'm used to living down south in Maryland,'' Dominguez said. "I'm very much looking forward to this meet.''

Dominguez's six mounts Wednesday earned a total $57,897, giving him $14,410,549 for the year. That enabled him to surpass his personal best of $14,410,463 set last year. His 298 wins this year are second in the nation to Russell Baze. Dominguez accomplished all that despite missing a month in February due to a knee injury and taking three weeks off following the Delaware meet.

"I'm very, very pleased,'' Dominguez said.

Timber Reserve gets back to work

The connections of Timber Reserve didn't have much time to celebrate their colt's victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day.

As the horse walked back into the winner's circle following that victory, Timber Reserve had blood oozing from his right front foot. Twelve weeks later, Timber Reserve finally made it back to the work tab, breezing four furlongs in 50.14 seconds Wednesday morning over Belmont Park's main track.

According to trainer John Kimmel, Timber Reserve shed the frog on his right front foot winning the Pennsylvania Derby. The frog is the spongy part of the bottom of a horse's foot that acts like a shock absorber. While Kimmel expected Timber Reserve to miss some time, a problem developed when it didn't heal properly.

"There are two little circles right at the base of it, one healed perfect the other healed with a crack in it,'' Kimmel said. "Now, we're like 30 days. I said to the blacksmith 'Let's trim it out,' and that put us back another 30 days.''

Timber Reserve, who had ankle surgery following his 2-year-old season, has won both of his starts this year. Kimmel said he plans to work Timber Reserve once more in New York before shipping him to south Florida this winter. Kimmel hopes to make a race early in the Gulfstream Park meeting, perhaps the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap on Jan. 6. Kimmel said the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 2 is a target.

"I'm not all that crazy about running against Daaher,'' Kimmel said of the Cigar Mile winner. "If we felt it was the right move maybe we'd alter our plans and go to California with him and run in the Strub series.''

The Strub series consists of the Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, the San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 12, and the Strub Stakes on Feb. 2.

More Angels flourishes sprinting

Owner Roddy Valente has enjoyed tremendous success with horses he claimed in Southern California and transferred to Bruce Levine in New York. One of their latest success stories is More Angels, a filly Valente and Vince Scuderi claimed for $40,000 in February and who has 3 wins and a second from 4 starts on the East Coast.

Earlier this month, More Angels won the Smartangle Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Saturday, she will use her speed to try and steal the $75,000 Garland of Roses.

More Angels, a California-bred daughter of Slew of Angels, has made 37 starts, beginning in August 2005, without a significant break. She was 1 for 22 from late 2005 to February 2007, when Valente claimed her. In 7 starts since the claim, she has 4 wins and 3 seconds.

"The key has been since the owner made the guy out West sprint her,'' Levine said, referring to Bill Spawr. "She was going long before we claimed her. The other day I thought it was a good field she beat.''

Oprah Winney, a multiple stakes winner, is expected to be the favorite in the Garland of Roses with 124 pounds, eight more than More Angels. Others possible to run include Cash's Girl, Coli Bear, and Control System.

Bracetty arrested; denied jockey's license

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board denied Jose Bracetty an apprentice jockey's license after he was arrested by Nassau County police on Sunday and charged with second-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. He was released on $1,000 bail and was scheduled to have had a court hearing on Wednesday.

Bracetty, 29, has had prior arrests as well, including an Oct. 10 arrest for third-degree criminal mischief, according to Nassau County police. Bracetty had been allowed to ride in New York with something known as "a valid receipt,'' which is given to a participant while his license application is being reviewed.

A spokesman for the State Racing and Wagering Board would not comment on Bracetty's arrests and would only say that his "participation in racing would not be in the public's best interests.''

Bracetty has 18 career wins from 417 starts and his mounts have earned $708,105.