Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/12/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
ARLINGTON-BOUND RANDY ROMERO GOES IN HALL OF FAME FRIDAY
Legendary retired jockey Randy Romero, who will come to Arlington Park next week as part of the Chicago oval’s second annual “Dining with the Dynasty” fundraiser on Aug. 20, will first fulfill a previous engagement this Friday in upstate New York.
That’s when the National Museum of Racing 2010 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at Saratoga Springs, and Romero, who spent a significant portion of his career at Arlington, will be among the inductees.
“Dreams really do come true,” said Romero, speaking over the phone about his pending Hall of Fame induction and his subsequent journey to Arlington. “I was lucky in that I was able to associate myself around good people and good horses. It is good horses that make good jockeys.”
Romero, 52, born in Erath, Louisiana, began riding in 1975. The 1978 movie “Casey’s Shadow” was based on a Quarter Horse named Rocket Magic that was trained by his father Lloyd and ridden by Randy. After switching to Thoroughbreds, Romero rode 4,285 winners before concluding his injury-plagued career on July 11, 1999.
He was Arlington’s leading rider in 1982 when he established a since-eclipsed record of 181 winners during the local season, and he repeated as Arlington’s jockey champion in 1985 with 159 trips to the winner’s circle.
Heading other local achievements is Romero’s position in the top 20 of Arlington’s all-time leading riders, and his 25 Arlington stakes wins has him 14th among Arlington’s all-time stakes-winning jockeys. He also reached the 4,000-win milestone in his career while riding at Arlington during the summer of 1997.
“I have a lot of good memories from my summers at Arlington,” said Romero. “I’m looking forward to coming back up there next week for the ‘Dining with the Dynasty’ fundraiser, but first I’m looking forward to this weekend at Saratoga.”
After being the regular rider for such greats as Personal Ensign and Go for Wand (both already inducted at Saratoga), most Thoroughbred racing fans would agree that Romero’s upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame is long overdue, but Romero refuses to harbor negative thoughts about the delay.
“Timing is everything,” Romero said. “I’m alive right now. That’s the most important thing to me.”
For several years, Romero has suffered from hepatitis C and had one kidney removed over two years ago.
“Right now, my health is stable,” Romero said when asked. “I get dialysis treatments three times a week for my kidneys, but my remaining liver only functions at 25 percent. That’s what the doctors are most concerned about.
“I swim everyday and I watch my diet,” said Romero. “I maintain my weight at 135 pounds, and I keep taking some ‘Gogi Juice’ that Tina Mott (Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s wife) turned me onto some time ago and that seems to really help.”
ABOUT ARLINGTON’S UPCOMING ‘DINING WITH THE DYNASTY’
Retired jockey Randy Romero, who will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs on Friday, is just the latest of a group of retired jockeys already inducted that will be present for Arlington’s “Dining with the Dynasty” fundraiser on Friday, Aug. 20, one day before this summer’s one-day International Festival of Racing.
The of list those upcoming “Dining with the Dynasty” celebrities already in the Hall of Fame, accompanied by their year of induction, is completed by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1975), Ron Turcotte (1979), John Rotz (1983), Pat Day (1991), Jerry Bailey (1995), Gary Stevens (1997), and Arlington’s all-time leading jockey Earlie Fires (2001).
Also, five of the retired jockey greats on hand will compete against five of the top riders at Arlington this summer in a “Young Gun vs. Cagey Veterans” turf race with pari-mutuel wagering.
Other retired jockeys who will be on hand for “Dining with the Dynasty” include Jean Cruguet, Ray Sibille, Bill Boland, Jackie Fires and Dennis Keehan.
Ticketholders will spend an afternoon in Arlington’s brand new Longshots Sports Bar with the legendary jockeys, who will share stories, reminisce about racing experiences and autograph racing memorabilia. Tickets are on sale now at arlingtonpark.com and the Arlington Park box office.
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