Former Jockey Needs Kidney Transplant

Former jockey Randy Romero is undergoing kidney dialysis while waiting on a transplant.

Romero, 45, began dialysis Sunday at Suburban Norton Hospital in Louisville, and is undergoing three, four-hour treatments per week. Dr. Don Duff, who is treating Romero, said the transplant is expected within four to five months. Romero's older brother Edwin has volunteered to be the donor if he is a match.

"Right now, the doctors are trying to get my body in shape for the transplant. I've got to have a couple of surgeries to have shunts (small drainage tubes) inserted in my body and see how that goes, before they can even begin testing my brother."

Romero has suffered from kidney problems for the past several years, and now has an estimated use of eight percent of both kidneys. "Through the years, with all the surgeries and antibiotics I've had to take, and the struggle to make weight, that was all very hard on my body, and it's now taking it's toll." he said.

During his career, Romero won 4,294 races, with his mounts earning $75,264,198 while riding regularly in Kentucky, New York, and Florida. He is best remembered winning the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) aboard unbeaten Personal Ensign and falling from the ill-fated Go for Wand in the 1990 Distaff.

Romero has worked as a jock's agent since his retirement from racing in 1999. He plans to continue working as an agent for apprentice rider Faustino Orantes, but has given Marlon St. Julien's book to Danny Gordan. St. Julian is currently riding at Oaklawn Park. "I plan keep working while on dialysis. I can go to the track every morning and take treatments at night," Romero said.

"I really didn't want to lose Marlon, but I had give him up in order to come back to Kentucky to take care of myself. I'm really high on Faustino and can keep working with him while he's at Turfway."