The fortunes of jockey Constantino Roman shot up like a Roman candle July 21 when the 21-year-old native of Guerrero, Mexico, scored the first graded stakes victory of his career in the Grade III Arlington Oaks.

Roman was aboard a ball of fire named La Tia, owned by the Hernandez Racing Club and trained by Brian Williamson in the Oaks, and the front-running filly forged her third straight win of the meeting with a three-quarter length tally.

The Illinois-bred La Tia broke her maiden by nine lengths in her first start at Arlington May 25, followed that with an 8 1/4-length score in the restricted $113,125 Purple Violet Stakes on Prairie State Festival Day June 16 and then remained undefeated locally with the Oaks win in Arlington’s annual main event for 3-year-old fillies on the main track.

“She’s a really easy filly to ride,” said Roman when asked to share the bond he seems to have with La Tia. “In all three races I could feel in my hands when she wanted to go. In her maiden race she just took off on her own at the three-eighths pole and in that second race when she got to the three-eighths pole she just took off again.

“(In the Oaks) I never asked for her speed,” Roman said. “I wanted her to get comfortable and show me what she wanted to do. Then, when she got to the three-eighths pole she gave me that same feeling in my hands. I knew she was going to do the same thing again and I just went, ‘Wow!’ I knew she was going to take off and give me everything she had.

“She’s a really smart filly,” Roman said. “When she works in the mornings she always works slow, but she knows when she goes to the races and she tries hard every time.”

When Roman first came to the United States as a teenager, he galloped horses for three years for the legendary Arlington trainer Harvey Vanier. Now that Vanier’s son-in-law Brian Williamson runs that stable, Roman rides almost all of his horses. He has two older brothers, Jorge and Alfredo, who are too big to be jockeys but work as grooms for Williamson.

A year ago at this time, Roman was Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey, but the loss of his “bug” last fall never slowed his progression as a rider.

“I’m really happy with the way my career is going but I want to continue to get better,” Roman said. “I like all the trainers that ride me on their horses because they are giving me the chance I need to get better. If I can do that, maybe someday I’ll have the chance to ride the best horses in the country.”


Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., already the nation’s all-time second leading female rider when she brought her tack to Arlington for the first time this season, recorded the first riding triple of her Chicago career Saturday after riding two winners during Friday’s twilight racing program.

The native of Hollywood, Florida, who turned 40 earlier this month, won Saturday’s fourth race on Dyedra Kademoglou’s Upsell for trainer Dale Bennett, came right back to the winner’s circle after the fifth on Doubledown Stables’ Floor Money for conditioner Jimmy DiVito and completed her hat trick in the finale aboard C. B. Racing’s B. Monsour for trainer Charlie Bettis.

The back-to-back multiple win days left Homeister firmly in third place in Arlington’s jockey standings entering Sunday’s race day.


A season high Pick-4 payoff of $29,871 was recorded Saturday at Arlington when Hernandez Racing Club’s La Tia won the Arlington Oaks for a $9.60 win payoff, Heider Family Stables’ Godard won the ninth ($21.20), Charles Sigrist and Del Sol Farm’s Joe Matt took down the 10th ($86.40) and C. B. Racing’s B. Monsour capped the finale with an $11.40 straight price.

As season high daily double payout of $2,037.80 was registered by Godard and Joe Matt.