Ramon Dominguez doing better after suffering skull fracture on Friday

Jockey Ramon A. Dominguez, aboard Little Mike, celebrates Jockey Ramon A. Dominguez, aboard Little Mike, celebrates after they won the Arlington Million horse race at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill. (Aug. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Steve Rushing, Ramon Dominguez's longtime agent, said Saturday afternoon that the champion jockey was "doing a little bit better" after suffering a slightly displaced skull fracture Friday in a spill at Aqueduct.

Dominguez remained at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was taken by ambulance late Friday afternoon. "He's off the respirator, which they had him on Friday night, and he's answering basic questions, which he wasn't able to do Friday,'' Rushing said in a phone interview with Newsday. "The doctors said they liked how he's been responding. They're saying they're very optimistic he'll make a full recovery.''

Rushing said he has worked for Dominguez "about 13 years.'' He said he had not spoken to the doctors but was monitoring the situation from Baltimore through calls to Dominguez's wife, Sharon. Rushing said she told him Saturday morning that her husband was scheduled for more tests later in the day.

The hospital did not return a message left by Newsday requesting an update on Dominguez's condition. He reportedly had been upgraded from critical to stable.

Before a CT scan revealed the fracture Friday night, the 36-year-old Venezuelan initially was diagnosed with only a bruise over his right eye. There was no indication on how long he would be hospitalized and when he would be able to ride again.

Dominguez's mount in the seventh race, 4-5 favorite Convocation, clipped heels at the top of the stretch with the front-running winner, Sovereign Default. Convocation fell forward, throwing Dominguez hard onto Aqueduct's inner dirt track, and Straight Fax jumped over the fallen horse. It was unclear whether Straight Fax made contact with Dominguez, who immediately was strapped to a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

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Convocation, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole, appeared unhurt and was walked off the track. Trainer David Jacobson claimed Convocation before the race for owner Christopher Dunn.

Dominguez won 341 races in 2012 and set a North American earnings record of more than $25.5 million. He received his third consecutive Eclipse Award for top jockey at Saturday night's ceremonies at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

"He had planned to be there,'' Rushing said. "He had a flight booked for right after Saturday's races.''

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