LARC NEWS Posted: 5/9/2021 1:33:44 AM


         Roberto Dominguez, a highly respected multiple stakes winning trainer at Los Alamitos, passed away on Saturday morning from cancer. He was 68.

          Dominguez trained at Los Alamitos since 2001, winning 163 Quarter Horse races and $2,032,579 in earnings. He trained many stakes winners for Kolleen Ledgerwood, while keeping a small but very successful barn at the Orange County track. His most outstanding runner was Ledgerwood’s Materialist, who was a three-time Grade 3 stakes winner at Los Alamitos. The Separatist gelding earned over $97,000 in his racing career with Dominguez saddling him to victories in the First Down Dash Handicap, Vandy’s Flash Handicap and Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap in 2008.

          For Ledgerwood, the trainer also conditioned 2016 Golden State Million Futurity finalist Renewal, a winner of $183,498 and runner-up in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby in 2017. Filthy Fast, who ran fourth in the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, and 2010 Grade 3 Katella Handicap winner Fire Is On were among his top runners.

          “Losing Roberto (is) like losing family, because that’s how he treated us and that’s how he treated our horses,” Kolleen Ledgerwood said. “He started training for Jim in 1989, as Jim knew he was a very hard worker and had worked for Jimmy Glenn Sr. He started with just one horse and went on from there, helping us every year at the October Equine sale.

          “He gave us such joy over the past years, and even his family would help at the barn. He was a very humble man, and a real horseman. He saved one of our best, Renewed, when he almost lost his tongue and stayed with him night and day. He qualified many of horses for the big futurities and the Super Derby, and though we fell short of winning a big one it wasn’t for the lack of work by Roberto. He wouldn’t give up on a horse. He also had a sense of humor, as he nicknamed a filly ‘Precious’ and she almost killed him running off with him. He never complained and never said a bad word about anyone.”

          One of Dominguez’s most special nights in racing came in 2016 when he saddled both winners of the Freshman Stakes races for Ledgerwood on California Breeders Champions Night. He won the Freshman division for fillies with Scholarly and the Freshman Stakes with Favorite Aquaholic. That victory was jockey Jonathan Roman’s first stakes win.    

          “When I heard that he passed away, it really hit me hard,” Roman said. “Roberto was like a father to me. He let me stay with him when I was starting out in racing and gave me great opportunities to ride a lot of good horses for him. I can’t believe he’s gone. It is tough. I won my first stakes win with him. When I told my wife about his passing earlier today, she texted me the photo of Favorite Aquaholic’s stakes win in the winner’s circle. Roberto was always so good to me. He was a good person. I’m really going to miss him.”

          According to a report, Dominguez was diagnosed with stomach cancer recently and had been hospitalized. One of the last horses to race with his name listed as trainer was the Thoroughbred mare Elemental in the second race here on Friday night. Owned by Oscar Prieto Casillas and ridden by Cesar Ortega, the 5-year-old mare won the race by daylight.  

          “(Roberto) finally had to give up this year when he got too sick,” Ledgerwood added. “Roberto always had a smile for us when we came into town. We wish more people could have known him as we did. We thank Cesar DeAlba for willing to take over. The next win is for Roberto.”

          More information will be posted as it becomes available.


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