One of the more popular thoroughbred trainers of the last few years is Dale Romans. While Romans has received a lot of attention recently, like many successful horsemen he has been laboring along in the sport of horseracing for quite a while. Dale Romans seems to personify a never-give-up mentality that is critical to success in the conditioning of racehorses.
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Dale Romans’ father, Jerry, was a renowned horse trainer on the Kentucky racing circuit, and young Dale was around racehorses almost from the time he could walk. The Romans stable often led the standings at Turfway Park and Ellis Park, two of the smaller racetracks in Kentucky. One could argue that Dale Romans benefitted from this environment in two ways. First, he was exposed to every area of the racing business from cleaning stalls to managing a winning stable. Second, he was exposed to racing in Kentucky which typically is one of the most competitive circuits.
Dale Romans gathered additional experience by working for the legendary Woody Stephens. At the tender age of 18 he obtained his own trainer’s license and saddled his first winner in early 1987 at his father’s old stomping grounds, Turfway Park. In 2003, Romans reached another milestone by getting his 200th win at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. This win also moved Romans ahead of his own father on the Churchill Downs all-time win list.
As the trainer of his own stable, Romans is known for being intimately involved in all areas of the business. With over 100 employees and 150 horses stabled at racetracks in four different states, Romans is an expert at successful management. This shows in the recent success of the Romans stable. It is rare to see a Triple Crown race these days that does not include a Romans-trained runner.
One of Romans’ biggest successes was certainly Kitten’s Joy. After winning multiple Grade 1 stakes races, Kitten’s Joy finished second in the 2004 Breeder’s Cup Turf and received an Eclipse Award for American Champion Male Turf Horses. Romans also conditioned Roses in May, Medal Count, and Shackleford. According to his website, Romans has 1,731 career wins and over $84 million in purse winnings. In 2013, Dale Romans was honored with an Eclipse Award as racing’s top trainer.
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