Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018) – The Romans family is synonymous with success at Churchill Downs. The late JerryRomans was a popular trainer from Louisville and his son, Dale, is Churchill Downs’ all-time leading trainer. Now, Dale’s son, 22-year-old Jake Romans, is adding to the family legacy as a jockey’s agent representing top riders Robby Albarado and Channing Hill.
“I don’t ever remember not knowing the racetrack,” Jake said. “Dad trained my whole life and my mom (Tammy Fox, Dale’s life partner) either rode races or galloped horses. I grew up around a lot of different people who were involved in the business but I was never really sure what I wanted to do.”
Jake graduated from St. Xavier High School in Louisville but was still unsure what he wanted to do for his career.
“I thought I should probably go to college, you know, to make my parents happy,” Jake joked. “I enrolled in cooking school atSullivan University and graduated in January. The entire time I was there I knew I probably didn’t want to be a chef but it would be good to have this skill set to fall back on in case things didn’t work out.”
After Jake graduated from Sullivan, he enlisted the help of veteran agent and longtime family friend Richard DePass, who represents jockey Luis Saez.
“Richard has been a big part of the early success I’ve had,” Jake said. “I called him one day and simply said, ‘Richard, I think I want to be an agent.’ Right away he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I followed him around the backstretch in the morning and he taught me all the ins and outs of the business. Luis Saez was the leading rider in Florida at the time so his business was really steady. I would walk around with him to different barns as he would get calls and hustle business.”
Jake began his career as an agent in April, representing Hill at Keeneland.
“I picked up Channing’s book at the start of the Keeneland Spring Meet and we’ve been going strong ever since,” Jake said. “Channing rides a lot of horses for his father-in-law (Wayne Catalano) so we already had some steady business.”
“I think this kid is going to make it,” Catalano quipped. “He’s here every day and doing a great job so far.”
Hill reeled off 11 victories at the Churchill Downs Spring Meet with $415,622 in earnings. But, in July, Jake got the first big break of his career when veteran jockey Albarado needed an agent.
“About half-way through the Ellis Park meet I picked up Robby’s book,” Jake said. He’s been friends with my dad for a long time. Robby has taught me a lot about the industry in just a couple of months. We go over calls daily and he gives me some suggestions on different strategies to hustle business. We’re in a really good rhythm and business is good.”
Albarado has won 5,151 races throughout his 28-year career, including seven Grade I victories from Romans’ barn.
“Robby is my top rider,” Dale said. “If there is a big race that we’re in, I want Robby riding my horse. We’ve been through a lot together and he’s as good as there is. I think it’s a great pairing with Jake because Robby will teach him a lot about the business. Robby is a veteran of this sport and is extremely successful. With Jake just getting started, he’ll be able to learn from Robby how to make decisions based on certain situations. A lot of people outside of the industry don’t realize what goes on how a jockey is named to ride a horse. Jake is getting the right start on how to become a successful agent.”
“I’m only 22 and still have a lot to learn,” Jake said. “I love what I’m doing.”