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Randy Romero Says“So Much for Breeding”

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By Professor M. Scott McMannis

Hawthorne’s Handicapping and Business Center on the third floor of the grandstand, begins with the basics, and by the end of the series, you will be out-handicapping your competition.

Randy Romero Says“So Much for Breeding”

Those of us with the benefit of a historical perspective on horseracing know the name Randy Romero. I remember the soft-spoken, friendly, and supremely confident Romero winning the riding title at Arlington Park in 1982 with a then-record 181 wins

That was just one of Romero's many achievements in an illustrious, quarter-century career that included 4,276 wins and over $75 million in purse earnings.

In 1999 Romero announced his retirement and rode his last race at Evangeline Downs where he started his career and set the meet record of 183 wins. He finished sixth. The winner was ridden by Marlon St. Julian.

Shortly after retiring Romero took out a jockey agent license and began a new career. His first rider: Marlon St. Julian.

That was Randy Romero I. Following right on his heels was son Randy Romero II. Romero II graduated from high school in 1999 and, like his dad, took out a jockey agent license.

"I spent my life following my dad around the country with my mom, Crickett," explained Romero II. "He got an agent's license, I got one, too."

Why not follow in his dad's footsteps and first become a jockey? To know him is to know why. While Romero I was 5'3" tall and weighed about 113 pounds, Romero II is 6' tall and weighs 175 pounds.

"So much for breeding," laughed Romero II. But Romero the Younger followed in his father's footsteps in yet another way. His first name jockey was Marlon St. Julian. Fast forward to 2004.

"My dad came to Arlington to book mounts for Jose Martinez, Jr., and Miguel Mena," explained Romero the Son. "He called me and urged me to follow him and take the books of Men Chen and Emmanuel Cosme.

"In 2005 I returned to Arlington with Emmanuel and Casey Fusilier," continued young Romero. "Casey decided to return to Louisiana and Emmanuel went to Fairmount Park. So, I picked up the books of Miguel Mena, following in my dad's footsteps once again, and Jerry La Sala."

Being a jock agent is a demanding job.

"I arrive at the backstretch about 4:30 AM," young Romero related. "I see as many trainers as I can, maintaining and building relationships, and trying to line up workouts for my jocks to perform. I'm hustling in the barn area until about 9:30 AM.”

"Then it's off to the racing office for entries and the drawing of post positions for the upcoming races," concluded Romero II. "We're always looking to pick up another mount or two for our riders."

At 24 years old Romero II is one of the youngest jockey agents to be plying their trade locally.

"I feel like I've learned a lot and matured in a relatively short time," he summarized. "I've had to, I'm a family man."

Romero II lives in Schaumburg with wife Donna and son Tyler and daughter Mia.
Romero I is rightfully proud of his son. Reached at his home in New York, where he is agent for Fernando Jara and distant cousin Randall Toups, Romero I said, "He works hard at his job. He enjoys it, which is important, and he's become good at it."

Romero I and II may be reunited soon. "I’m planning a trip to Chicago to see my son," offered the senior Romero. Those of us blessed with a historical perspective of horseracing are looking forward to seeing Romero the Elder once more.

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