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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


A Young Randy Romero in the saddle

Randy Romero, a Hall of Fame jockey who won more than $75 million in purses, passed away Thursday, after a long battle with cancer.  He was 61.

Born in Erath, Louisiana on December 22, 1957, Romero retired in 1999 after a 26-year career in which he rode 4,294 winners from 26,091 mounts.

And he lost six years of his career due to a freak accident and numerous injuries.

Romero, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2010, rode 342 stakes winners and won riding titles at 10 different racetracks.

Romero had a connection with fillies, including Champions Personal Ensign and Go For Wand. “He is the toughest guy I ever met,” said Billy Badgett, trainer of Go For Wand.

It’s curious that someone nicknamed the Rajin’ Cajun had a personality that belied the sobriquet. Mild-mannered, soft spoken, and with hands of silk, his quiet riding style seemed to suit those fillies perfectly but was strong when he needed to be.

Romero, as many know, was badly burned in a sauna accident at Oaklawn Park in 1983 and contracted hepatitis C . Those blood transfusions kept him alive at the time but damaged his liver and kidneys badly. He was on dialysis for four years.

Romero had hoped for a liver and kidney transplant but developed stomach cancer. The doctors deemed him inoperable because he would not have had enough strength to endure an 11-hour procedure.

HRI celebrated Romero’s life in a story on Tuesday. Link here:

Amy Zimmerman, writer and Executive Producer of a Romero documentary and currently Vice-President of Business Coordination at Santa Anita, tweeted: “From the archives of HRTV: “Inside Information: Randy Romero”. Rest in Peace Randy. And thank you.”

There will be a Catholic Mass funeral service at 1 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Our Lady of Lordes Catholic Church, 700 S Broadway Street in Erath, LA 70533.  

The family requests that any donations made in his name should go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

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