Three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez has retired due to the severity of injuries sustained in an accident at Aqueduct Racetrack Jan. 18, 2013.
Dominguez, 36, made the announcement in a press release. Following the spill at Aqueduct, he was hospitalized with a fractured skull and spent time in the Intensive Care Unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center before transferring to Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. for inpatient brain rehabilitation therapy. The rider initially expected to make a comeback, but was advised by physicians to end his career.
"Riding Thoroughbreds has always been my passion and my calling," Dominguez said. "When I was 13 and watched my first horse race in Venezuela, I knew that I would become a jockey, and my riding career has brought happiness and success beyond what I ever expected.
"Thus, it is extremely difficult for me to announce that due to the severity of the injuries I sustained ... my professional riding career has come to an end. While I hoped and even expected to be able to return to the saddle, as a result of my injuries and upon the advice of my treating physicians, it has been determined that I will no longer be able to pursue my career as a jockey."
Dominguez led all riders on the New York Racing Association circuit in 2012 with 322 victories for his fourth straight year as the NYRA leading rider, and led the nation in earnings with $25.6 million last season. In November he surpassed jockey Jerry Bailey for the single-season record for seasonal North American earnings by a rider. Bailey set his top seasonal earnings mark in 2003 when his North American mounts secured $23,354,960 in purse earnings.
"I want to personally thank my family, fans, and fellow riders for overwhelming support in the months since my accident," Dominguez said. "I chose to make this statement to end speculation about my future, but I am not yet ready to speak publicly. I will come forward on my own, but in the meantime I ask that you please respect my privacy as I continue my recovery."