If you go back to many of my posts, you will see that I have always been a big fan of New York racing. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of quality action to be watched and wagered. But for this Kentucky boy it is awfully tough to beat the “Big Apple.”
There is so much for me to follow. If you have had your head under a rock, here is a glimpse of what you have been missing.
Ramon Dominguez – The Eclipse Award winning rider did very little wrong this year. He was missed this year, as John Velasquez and Javier Castellano accepted the award on his behalf. Talk about the “murderer’s row” of riders. The colony has always been tough since the beginning of time, but when you get these three riders in the same race. It becomes awfully tough to separate the winner as they make few mistakes. Dominguez had a horrible spill on Friday, and remains hospitalized with a displaced skull fracture. He is expected to make a full recovery according to his wife Sharon.
For me, it is easy to spot Ramon in the saddle. He sits incredibly chilly and waits until the very last second before he pulls the pocket, or takes the hole along the rail. His abilities to put the race to sleep were never better as he guided Little Mike wire-to-wire to win the Arlington Million this year. It was like watching a symphony of ability as he never let the others get him out of his game. Dominguez is just that way in the saddle. His ability to finish strong makes it look as if the 1,200 pound runner is completely in his hands. Ramon’s ability to communicate with his mount is the difference between being good, and being oh-so-smooth… Needless to say, every time he is the pilot it is tough to leave him out of the action. Rest up and come back soon, Mr. Dominguez.
Irad and Jose Ortiz – When they won 7 races on the Sunday card at Aqueduct, it looks like it would be easier to mail them the purse money, and let them divide it up. Irad first caught my eye when he was a bug rider (apprentice) at the “Big A.” His ability to ride with the heavy weights showed me his talent is blooming. When he lost his weight break, it took a short while before he started picking up the action again. His ability on the front end and coming from behind are equally strong. I love the way he sits in the saddle. I know he has been watching Ramon Dominguez for quite sometime, and it will payoff in the long run. His brother Jose is 19-years old. He is the leading rider, and as far as I can remember. There has been a bug rider that does quite well in New York. As Irad watched some of the other talents in New York, Jose must have been watching him. Little brother sits on his mounts in the same stock-still manor. It is hard to believe he is 19-years-old. This guy has my attention, and I think he will only get better as the year opens up. I can’t wait to see him at Belmont, Saratoga, and making trips out of town. Today, there was a special race card at Aqueduct. Between the two, they won six races, and finished 1-2 in three races. Just another day at the office for these two talented brothers. Good luck guys, we’ll be watching and wagering with both hands!
I love the inner track during the winter, the sweeping turns at “Big Sandy,” and the sweet summer magic that happens at Saratoga. The history goes on forever with names that bring tears to our eyes. The riders who came this way and took their game to the next level. The barns that ship-in and target the rich purses, and the owners who keep some of the biggies in training in the New York area. Yep, it is simple for me. I love New York, and the action is only getting better by the day.