Updated on 02/10/2016 3:36PM

Dominguez will be considered for Hall of Fame


Ramon Dominguez, a three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey who sustained a career-ending injury in 2013, can be considered for induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this year even though he has not been retired for five years, the Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.

In a release, the Hall of Fame’s executive committee said that Dominguez would have been eligible for consideration this year if he had continued riding due to a separate requirement that allows for eligibility 20 years after a rider is first licensed. Dominguez, who won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey each year from 2010-12, rode his first race in 1996.

The executive committee noted that it can waive the five-year retirement requirement “at its discretion based on special circumstances.”

Dominguez won 4,985 races from 21,267 mounts during his career, a strike rate of 23 percent, and earned $191.6 million in purses. He led the nation in wins in 2001, 2003, and from 2010-12 and set a single-season record for earnings in 2012 that has since been surpassed by Javier Castellano.

Dominguez announced his retirement in June 2013 after suffering injuries in an accident at Aqueduct in New York in January.

The Hall of Fame nominating committee is scheduled to meet later this month to select the finalists for the Hall of Fame ballot, which is comprised of contemporary horses, trainers, and jockeys that receive a majority votes from the committee. Voters for the Hall of Fame are allowed to select as many candidates on the ballot as they want, but any candidate must receive 50.1 percent of the vote to gain election. In addition, only four candidates on the ballot can be elected at any one time.

Expected to be on the ballot for the first time are the popular mares Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, who are considered shoo-ins to be elected. Also likely to make the ballot this year is Victor Espinoza, the rider of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Espinoza has had three Kentucky Derby victories and seven Triple Crown race wins in his career.

Late last year, officials for the Hall of Fame said they would consider leading trainer Steve Asmussen as a candidate this year after two years in which he was removed from eligibility due to ongoing investigations in two states based on allegations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The investigations dismissed the most serious charges made by PETA.