Gentle Romeo Dominates at Santa Anita
Gentle Romeo was born in 2004, on River Edge Farm, bred by his owners, Marty Wygod, his wife and daughter. Gentle Romeo was sired by Benchmark and Quiet Romance, of which both mare and sire also belong to the Wygod’s. He is considered to be a little bit of a late bloomer, only making his horse racing debut last year, but has improved remarkably, and showed his talent and strength last Wednesday, 8 October 2008, by winning a feature race at the Santa Anita Oak Tree meeting.
Even though Gentle Romeo had done well in his first year of racing, his previous trainer, John Shirreffs, made the decision to have him gelded, which has made Gentle Romeo a much calmer horse. He had won two of his three career starts, and had to recover from a leg injury, so when Gentle Romeo was moved over to be trained by Clifford Sise, a new approach was taken to his training, which saw him laid off for approximately eleven months. Sise wanted to make sure that Gentle Romeo was ready, as his future lay in racing with no stud future ahead of him.
With Garrett Gomez aboard, Gentle Romeo seemed excited and energetic while nearing the starting gates and many punters were sure that it was a good sign. Others felt that with him being off the track for such a long time, it might influence his performance. But Gentle Romeo was not in the mood for playing around; he waited for the starting gates to swing open, took the lead and kept on running. Maintaining a steady pace throughout the race, left Gomez with not much to do but to ride it out to the wire. Second place was taken by All Man, Ramsgate came in third and Men Only finished in fourth position. The victory has now given Gentle Romeo three wins in four starts, and career earnings of $100 060.
Although Sise now has to turn his attention to Idiot Proof, another horse of the Wygod’s for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, he will be getting Gentle Romeo ready for Hollywood Park, in November. Gentle Romeo’s performance has proved that he has the ability and the determination to succeed in horse racing, and is already on his way to make his owners, and trainer, very proud.