12/29/2010 4:40PM

Dominguez makes himself a strong candidate for Eclipse Award

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Eclipse Award contender Ramon Dominguez said he considers his upset win aboard Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup as one of his best moments of 2010.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Along with Horse of the Year, one of the Eclipse Award categories that is up for debate is that of leading jockey.

Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, and John Velazquez are the top three riders in purse money won, while DeShawn Parker, Dominguez, and Russell Baze were the leaders in races won entering the final three days of the year.

For the second consecutive year, Dominguez was the dominant rider on the New York Racing Association circuit, winning 346 races (before Wednesday) and $13.3 million in purses. Overall, Dominguez had 362 wins and $17,237,270 in purse earnings. Dominguez ranks sixth in graded stakes won this year with 19, a dozen behind Velazquez. Gomez, with 27 graded stakes wins, is tied for second with Joel Rosario.

“I try not to put too much emphasis on the Eclipse Award,” Dominguez, who has never won an Eclipse Award, said prior to Wednesday’s first race at Aqueduct. “It’s something that anybody and everybody would love to achieve, but it’s really out of my hands. Of course, it crosses my mind, and if it happens it’d be great, but it’s not something that I’m really thinking about on a daily basis. I’m just focusing on riding my horses. If something like this falls into place and happens, I’ll be very happy.”

Dominguez said it would be hard to pick a top moment but mentioned the Jockey Club Gold Cup win aboard Haynesfield as a most satisfying victory as were wins aboard Gio Ponti in the Man o’ War and Shadwell Turf Mile.

“The Jockey Club Gold Cup definitely was a great race to win without question, and winning with Gio Ponti is always exciting because he’s such a good horse,” Dominguez said. “I’m still very excited about Boys at Tosconova – I think he’s a very, very nice horse.”

Dominguez won the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga aboard Boys at Tosconova, and Dominguez remains hopeful he could develop into a leading Kentucky Derby candidate this winter in south Florida. Boys at Tosconova, second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is pointing to the Holy Bull at Gulfstream at the end of January for his 3-year-old debut.

While many of his New York brethren are already in south Florida, Dominguez will spend another winter at frosty Aqueduct, where he will most likely dominate the inner track standings for a fourth consecutive year.

“If you’re winning, it gets warmer,” Dominguez said.