Updated 09/02/2012 07:21 PM
The Spa Spot: Dominguez wins six again, breaks record
Jockey Ramon Dominguez set the Saratoga record of 66 victories in a season with a record-tying six victories on Sunday's program.
Dominguez broke John Velazquez' eight-year-old record aboard Temper in Command in the eighth race and one race later tied the record of six winners on a program on Unbridled Command in the Grade 3 Saranac.
The NYRA media guide incorrectly listed Velazquez' record performance in 2004 as 65 wins. However, one of those winners, Tales of Glory trained by Todd Pletcher, was disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance. As a result, Velazquez should have been credited with 64 winners, but NYRA never made the adjustment in its guide.
Due to the NYRA error, everyone at the track, including Dominguez and track announcer Tom Durkin, thought Dominguez entered the day five wins from tying the record.
After winning the Saranac, Dominguez responded to a humorous question about having a good day.
“Actually, I am having a great day," he said. "Everything is working out great. It’s one of those days when you have to pinch yourself. I’m very excited. I knew I was within five wins of tying the record. It’s something I was thinking about once in a while, especially when we are getting closer to the end.
"I thought we could tie the record with Johnny. If we had the chance to break it, that would have been better. I will be able to sleep good with a big smile, prepare for tomorrow with no pressure.”
Velazquez set the record during a 36-day season and Dominguez tied and broke the record during the 39th day of the 40-day Saratoga racing season. Dominguez missed one full day of the season and part of another when he left Saratoga to ride in stakes races at other tracks.
Dominguez had tied Velazquez' track record of six wins in a day on Sunday, July 22. With his win in the Saranac, Dominguez became the first rider to twice win six races on a single program in the same season. That first six-win day put him at the top of the jockey standings, a position he has never surrendered. He clinched the riding title and enters the final day of the season with a 17-win advantage on Javier Castellano.
Unbridled Command, a gray New York-bred trained by Tom Bush was sent off at odds of 10-1. He scooted by Skyring in deep stretch to win by a half-length and paid $22.60.
“Beautiful. Fabulous. I love it!" Bush said. "I actually think the horse would have been 15-1 or 16-1 if it wasn’t for Ramon riding. I was very fortunate to get him. You’re always in good hands in the big races when you can get the top riders, and he’s obviously the best. We were happy to get him.
"The horse has done wonderfully up here. He came out of his last race really good and had two really good works. His last work was sensational. It was as good as a horse can work. I was just hoping he had enough class to run good, and he did.”
Dominguez was active on the Master Command colt and put himself in a position to get what he thought would be the record-breaking victory.
“I was focusing on giving him the best ride that I could and getting the most from him," Dominguez said. "Coming to the three-eighths pole, when I was able to squeeze in between horses, he gave me a great kick. I knew I wasn’t already there, but I was excited. I said to myself, ‘win or lose, at this point, I am within a chance of breaking the record.’ It was neat. When I passed the wire, it was one of those [moments] to take a second to let all of it to sink in.”