The Learning Post . . .
Hungry Riders Have Appetite For Bullring    #89 - 1997
     by Ed Golden 


From the best of Ed Golden -- Golden Glimpses
Ed is a freelance writer. His stories have been published in The Blood-Horse, The Backstretch, Thoroughbred of California and Gaming Today
   ( . . . re-printed with permission and our thanks)



When it comes to riding the bullrings, Caesar Dominguez says you can keep your Hall of Fame riders.

Give him the kids with the eye of the tiger, who have the passion and determination to ride the 5/8-mile Pomona oval like they know the back of their hands.

"I'm one of those trainers who really enjoys running at Pomona," says the 48-year-old El Paso native, who was the leading trainer at Fairplex Park in 1992.

"Some trainers don't enjoy it, but my horses always seem to run good. I usually get lucky and pick a jockey who rides good at the bullring."

Caesar's luck abandoned him in the Barretts Debutante on Sept. 21, when Laffit Pincay Jr., riding 6-5 favorite Balisian Beauty, almost went down on the first turn. The 50-year-old rider, winningest active jockey with 8,554 victories, 279 behind leader Bill Shoemaker's record 8,833, never gave up in the 6 1/2 furlong race, however.

Some 16 lengths behind at the half-mile pole and 13 behind with a quarter of a mile remaining, Pincay unleashed a furious rally aboard the 2-year-old filly, who missed by a nose. Had the photo finish been any closer, it would have been a dead-heat.

"I told Laffit not to pick this filly's head up," Dominguez said after the heart-breaking defeat. "If you do, she's going to blow the turn. Just give this filly her head and turn her loose. She should have won by 10 lengths."
Pincay, usually very accommodating for interviews after a race, had a terse "no comment" for one reporter.

Dominguez was still licking his wounds the next day, but was not malicious or vindictive when he recounted his decision.