Horseracing

Top jockey Dominguez forced to retire

Ramon Dominguez
Ramon Dominguez has retired after a brain injury suffered in a spill.
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ELMONT, N.Y.

Advised by doctors that another spill could do more serious damage to him, jockey Ramon Dominguez on Thursday announced his retirement from riding.

Dominguez, 36, made the announcement via a statement released through the New York Racing Association. The decision comes less than five months after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a spill at Aqueduct and a week after he met with his trio of physicians.

“Riding Thoroughbreds has always been my passion and my calling,” Dominguez’s statement read. “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’s statement further read that he is “not ready to speak publicly” but will do so at a later time.

Though Dominguez didn’t specifically address his physical well-being in the press release, his agent of 13 years, Steve Rushing, said Dominguez is doing well, but doctors feared he could not withstand another spill.

“He’s doing great, there’s just a fear if he falls and bangs his head again that it’s not going to take much to reinjure it,” said Rushing, who had dinner with Dominguez and his family Wednesday night. “There’s too much of a risk to go back to such a dangerous job.”

Rushing, who notified horsemen of Dominguez’s decision Thursday, said the jockey’s retirement is a big loss to the industry.

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