In what already has been a difficult week on the racing front comes more serious news regarding the health of retired Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero.
Romero’s former agent, Rick Mocklin, posted an update on Romero’s condition at the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
“[Randy] has an appointment at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans with three doctors for tests on the 15th, 16th and 17th of this month to determine if his stomach tumor is benign or malignant,” Mocklin said. “Doctors were unable to determine that status when surgery was performed two weeks ago and had to be aborted because of a badly bleeding small intestine.
“Randy, as always, is in great spirits and is hoping for some good news. He told me that if the tumor is benign he will have it removed and anxiously await a liver transplant.
“He also told me that if the tumor is malignant, he has already decided to not have chemotherapy. He said he is too sick to go through what chemo does to a person’s body.”
The 57-year-old Romero, who hails from a prominent Louisiana racing family, has endured numerous physical hardships over the years. Severely burned in a sauna accident at Oaklawn Park in the early 1980s, Romero has also suffered kidney problems as well as various injuries generally associated with the riding profession. In recent years, Romero has struggled with hepatitis C and receives dialysis treatment several times a week.
The 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, despite never having won a Triple Crown race, was among the nation’s elite jockeys in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s best known for being the regular pilot for the undefeated Personal Ensign and the ill-fated Go for Wand, both Hall of Fame fillies. Romero suffered a broken pelvis and ribs when Go for Wand fatally broke down in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Belmont Park.
“The only thing that Randy wants from everybody is your prayers,” Mocklin added. “He says that prayers and support from everyone give him hope.”
Mocklin also quoted Romero as saying: “You know Rick, I’ve been through a lot in my life, but I think I’m gonna get a miracle.”
(Randy Romero Photo: Skip Dickstein)