Jockey Fernando Jara will start new year with new agent.

Jockey Fernando Jara will start new year with new agent.


Jara, Agent Romero, Settle Contract Dispute

Jockey Fernando Jara and agent Randy Romero will officially part ways on Dec. 17 after Jara paid Romero $15,000 to be released from his contract, Romero said Saturday afternoon from his home in Louisville, Ky.

Under the original details of the contract, which Romero purchased from agent Jose Riviera for $15,000 at the beginning of this year, the agent was to represent Jara until Feb. 5, 2007.

Jara sought his release in mid-November, when he decided to hire Gatewood Bell, son of Darley USA President Jimmy Bell, as his agent.

Romero said he booked mounts for Jara through Sunday, the jockey's last day in New York for the 2006 racing season.

Jara will be represented by Bell at Gulfstream Park beginning Jan. 3, when he returns from a holiday vacation in Panama.

Romero said he will take his time to find a new rider. He plans to work on his autobiography with a Connecticut-based author during the winter.

"I'm glad to be home," he said after flying back to Kentucky from New York on Saturday afternoon. "I had a great ride with the kid, and I believed in him. That's why I went ahead and got his book.

"I took a shot because I really liked him, and I still really like him – we're on good terms. I think he's a great rider, and I hope the best for him."

Jara, who turns 19 Dec. 18, began riding in Panama at age 14. He came to the U.S. in January of 2004 and began riding first call for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

This year, he rode McLaughin trainees to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) aboard Jazil and the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Invasor.

His mounts had earned $8,697,908 as of Dec. 16.