Randy Romero, Classy Cajun With Deft Touch and Strong Spirit, Dies at 61

By T. D. Thornton

Randy Romero, the strong-willed Louisiana jockey who parlayed “Ragin’ Cajun” fearlessness as a bush-track phenom into a Hall-of-Fame career highlighted by a gentlemanly demeanor and dramatic victories aboard championship distaffers, died the night of August 28, according to published reports. He was 61 years old.

Romero’s deft, sure-handed horsebacking skills were eclipsed only by his reputation for having rock-solid spiritual faith in the face of numerous on- and off-track adversities. For decades he courageously battled liver and kidney troubles. In mid-June of 2019 Romero disclosed that he was receiving hospice care after doctors deemed him too weak to undergo further surgeries.

 

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Hall Of Fame Jockey Randy Romero In Hospice Care

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Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero

Jockey Randy Romero, elected to racing’s Hall of Fame in 2010, said last weekend he is hospice care but is at home in Lafayette, La., where a brother is staying with him and helping with his care.

“I’m very sick but I haven’t given up,” he said by phone. Romero, 62, said doctors told him he is not strong enough to undergo the surgery necessary to remove tumors that were discovered in 2015. He said his pain is being managed and hospice is allowing him to undergo dialysis three times weekly at a facility close to his home, a procedure he has done for some 15 years.

 

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL RACING HALL OF FAME WITH INDUCTION CEREMONY PLANNED FOR SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019

The Public is Invited to Vote for Additional Members Beginning June 15

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce the formation of its first Racing Hall of Fame. It will serve as an opportunity to honor the achievements of horse owners, trainers, jockeys, horses and property contributors who have played pivotal roles in the rich history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

A committee was formed earlier this year and selected individuals and racing champions for its first class. The Racing Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019. In addition, officials will open the voting for additional inductees to loyal racing fans so they will share in the selection of members to the Racing Hall of Fame. Beginning on Saturday, June 15, the general public will have the opportunity to cast a vote for those who have made a lasting impact over the years at the racetrack. Fans can cast their vote online, with the deadline on Saturday, June 29.

 

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame Committee has voted the following recipients into the Racing Hall of Fame.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Owner

  • John Franks – John Franks was the leading owner at Louisiana Downs for 18 years and much of the track’s success can be attributed to him.  Franks was an Eclipse Award winning owner and his homebred Answer Lively was honored as 1998 Two-Year Colt of the Year.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Frank L. Brothers Winner of nearly 800 races at Louisiana Downs and nine consecutive training titles from 1980 – 1988.  Brothers is the all-time  leader in Stakes victories with 127.  Louisiana Downs named a stakes race in his honor in 2019.
  • C.W. Walker – The track’s second all-time leading trainer with 820 wins.  A mainstay at Louisiana Downs he was best known for his prowess with claiming horses but also had 16 stakes winners. He was the leading trainer in 1977.

 

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. – Instrumental in the early development of Louisiana Downs as one of the first owners. The track was a success from the start, setting numerous national records for handle and attendance throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s under his oversight.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

  • Ronald Ardoin – A resident of Haughton, Louisiana, Ardoin is the all-time winningest jockey at Louisiana Downs. He made history as the 16th jockey nationally to have 5,000 wins when he rode Heart of an Angel to victory at Louisiana Downs.
  • Larry Snyder – Legendary Jockey with a 35-year riding career. Loved by fans at Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn Park, Larry worked as a steward at the track after retiring from the saddle in 1994.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Sunday Silence – The Super Derby Winner in 1989 in the same year that he was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. He was winner of The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeder’s Cup Classic.  Sunday Silence was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.
  • Free Spirits Joy – Louisiana-bred winner of the Super Derby in 1991. He made 29 Louisiana starts and 3 at Remington Park. He died at the age at 27 in 2015.

 

Beginning on Saturday, June 15, racing fans will be able to cast a vote by clicking on the following link:  http://shout.lt/bQZNV. Voters can select ONE of the following nominees in each category.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Bobby Barnett – A three-time Louisiana Downs training title champion (1991, 1994, 1997) and trainer of 2004 Super Derby winner, Fantasticat. He was the primary trainer for John Franks. Winner of nearly 500 races locally.
  • Cole Norman – Won eight consecutive Louisiana Downs training titles from 1998 – 2005.  He set a record for most training wins in a season in 2002 with 125 victories. All-time leading trainer in terms of wins with 825.
  • Jack Van Berg -Won his lone Louisiana Downs training title in 1976.  He conditioned two Super Derby winners: Gate Dancer in 1984 and Alysheba in 1987.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

  • Calvin Borel – A three-time leading jockey at Louisiana Downs  (1991, 1992, 1994) and winner of over 1200 races locally.  Borel is a nationally prominent rider with multiple Kentucky Derby wins.
  • Randy Romero – A two-time leading rider at Louisiana Downs (1979 and 1980) with nearly 600 wins at the racetrack. Romero was nationally prominent with numerous Grade I victories.
  • Angelo Trosclair – Louisiana Downs  leading jockey in 1976. He won more than 1300 races during his career that spanned multiple decades at Louisiana Racetracks.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Pat Pope – The longest tenured Racing Secretary at Louisiana Downs.  He also served as Racing Secretary at numerous tracks including currently at Oaklawn and Belmont Park.
  • Tom Sweeney – Longtime General Manager at Louisiana Downs including the early days of the racetrack. Sweeney was at the forefront of the inclusion of video poker and improved gaming at Louisiana Downs.
  • David Vance – Served as the Vice President of Operations for Debartolo Companies.  Vance spent a decade at Louisiana Downs before moving to Remington Park in Oklahoma.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Alysheba – Won the Super Derby in 1987 after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Alysheba was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Happy Ticket – Louisiana bred that broke her maiden at Louisiana Downs. She went on to win the Ballerina at Saratoga and was named Louisiana Downs Horse of the Year in 2004.
  • Shishkabob – A Louisiana Downs legend winning numerous races over the course of his long career. Shishkabob has a statue in his honor outside the entrance to the track.
  • Tiznow – Won the Super Derby in 2000 and was named Louisiana Downs Horse of the Year.  Tiznow won two Breeders’ Cup Classics and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

 

 

“The history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is truly remarkable,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations “We wanted to honor the many exceptional racing champions and people who have contributed both to the history of our racetrack and made an impact on the national racing industry.  Of course, we have a tremendously loyal fan base and felt that they deserved a voice in selecting some of the inductees into the inaugural Racing Hall of Fame.”

 

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

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Setback Jeopardizes Hall Of Fame Jockey Romero’s Chances For Organ Transplants

by | 07.09.2017 | 10:48pm

Paulick Report

Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero

A new health condition has caused Hall of Fame Jockey Randy Romero to be removed from the list of recipients for a transplanted kidney and liver, something he likely needs to sustain his life for a long period of time.

The new health condition started during his trip to the June 10 Belmont Stakes as a celebrity jockey  guest. Romero, 59, is one of the rare persons who has undergone dialysis three times weekly for over 12 years. Besides being particularly tiring, it requires a port placed under the skin, in his case on an arm, so he doesn’t need a thick needle stick for every session. The port ruptured while in New York and he wound up in a Garden City hospital Emergency Room. Doctors stemmed the bleeding, stitched and bandaged the arm, and he otherwise said he had a good time.

But during his drive back from the airport to the home of his brother, John Romero, in Lafayette, La., he hit another auto from the rear, totaling his car. With no one injured, he made it to John’s home and was upstairs in his room awaiting dinner and napping. The port ruptured, this time so violently he bled out and became unconscious.

“My mom (Joyce) came to get me for dinner and found me in a pool of blood,” he said. “She saved my life. I wound up in Intensive Care and my blood pressure was like 40 over 20. I nearly bled to death. They had to give me four liters of blood.”

Romero was placed on a ventilator to assist his breathing and was unconscious and in critical condition for over a week. The ventilator was successfully removed but he was hospitalized until early last week.

 

 

During a career that included 4,294 victories and purse earnings of over $75 million, Romero broke over 20 bones, suffered third degree burns over 40 percent of his body in a bizarre “hot box” fire, developed Hepatitis C from tainted blood transfusions following the accident, has one kidney and has undergone over 30 surgeries. But the latest injury may be the most serious because he will have to get strong enough to get back on the donor list.

“I’ve been through a lot,” he said. “But I still believe in God and I’m not giving up. I believe in prayer and I know a lot of people out there are praying for me. “

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