The day after winning his first Breeders' Cup race, jockey Ramon Dominguez was back to work Sunday, riding seven races at Delaware Park.
"Back to reality," Dominguez said yesterday, with a laugh.
The victory on Better Talk Now in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, however, may finally vault the 27-year-old Venezuelan native living in Rising Sun, Md., off the Mid-Atlantic circuit and on to New York, Southern California or Kentucky.
"I definitely hope in the near future, I can move to another track and continue to ride good horses," said Dominguez, who will stay home and ride at Pimlico and Laurel Park this winter to be with his wife, Sharon, who is due with their first child on Dec. 21. "When the time comes, I will make my move."
Better Talk Now, trained in Fair Hill by longtime Maryland-based conditioner Graham Motion, and owned by Brent Johnson of Oakton, survived a steward's inquiry following the race because of an erratic stretch run.
Dominguez swung the gelding five wide off the far turn and closed on the leaders in the stretch. Kitten's Joy, the 7-10 favorite in the race who was vying for horse of the year honors, attempted to come off the rail but was blocked by Better Talk Now. The winner then drifted in, nearly bumping leader Powerscourt before pulling away.
"I was concerned, obviously," Dominguez said. "I thought I held my ground."
Better Talk Now paid a whopping $57.80 to win.
Edgar Prado, who preceded Dominguez as king of the Mid-Atlantic jockeys before going on to national stardom, failed to win a Breeders' Cup race with mounts in every race, extending his streak of futility to 0 for 41.
-- John Scheinman