Champion jockey Ramon Dominguez has announced his retirement from thoroughbred racing due to injuries. The three-time Eclipse Award winning rider suffered a skull fracture in January at Aqueduct.
"Riding thoroughbreds has always been my passion and my calling," Dominguez said in a statement. "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 in an accident at Aqueduct Racetrack on January 18, 2013, 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 was injured when his mount, Convocation, clipped heels with the eventual winner, Sovereign Default during the running of the seventh race on Jan. 18 at Aqueduct. The jockey was unseated when his mount stumbled and fell.
"I want to personally thank my family, fans, and fellow riders for overwhelming support in the months since my accident," Dominguez continued. "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."
Dominguez, winner of the last three Eclipse Awards as champion jockey, concludes his career with 4,985 wins in 21,267 mounts and earnings of $191,615,698.
While never winning a Triple Crown race, the 36-year-old captured the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile aboard Hansen and twice won the Breeders' Cup Turf, in 2004 with Better Talk Now and last year aboard Little Mike.
"Ramon Dominguez leaves an indelible mark on thoroughbred racing and his profession," NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said in a statement. "His many victories and achievements earned him three consecutive Eclipse Awards as the nation's leading jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Above all, he epitomizes sportsmanship and professionalism as demonstrated by the respect he earned from his fellow jockeys. He is destined for thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame."