Romarin repeats in San Gabriel 'cap

January 02, 1996|By LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Dick Mandella doesn't even want to think about the day when he will be inducted into thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame. But if the 45-year-old trainer keeps winning, he's odds-on to make it one of these days.

Mandella added to his impressive resume at Santa Anita on New Year's Day when he became the first trainer in 49 runnings of the San Gabriel Handicap to win the Grade II turf race with the same horse. And he did it back-to-back.

Romarin, a Brazilian-bred horse, led throughout the nine-furlong race on a firm course to win by a half-length over the fast-closing Virginia Carnival, who was saddled by Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg.

Mandella, whose horses won some $6 million in 1995 to rank fifth nationally, sent out Romarin to win the San Gabriel last year with the same jockey, Corey Nakatani, and under the same weight of 119 pounds.

The odds were also identical at 11-10, and even the running was nearly the same. Romarin won in 1:49.36 last year and went 1:49.69 yesterday. And the brown horse did it the only way he knows how -- go to the front and stay there.

"He lives for that gate to open and try to outrun everybody," Mandella said of Romarin, who is owned by Linneo Eduardo de Paula Machado of Sao Paolo, Brazil. "To get along with him, Corey just rides him with confidence and patience."

Romarin won $82,050 from the gross purse of $132,000, increasing his career earnings to $613,803. It was his first victory since the Early Times Classic last May and his 10th in 22 lifetime starts.

Mandella said he was "not real sure" what's next for Romarin, "but nine furlongs is as much as he wants to do here, you know, with the best horses that we have to run with. We'll just shop around for anything from a mile to a mile and an eighth."

Martin Wygod's 8-5 favorite, Twice the Vice, won the $71,050 Run for the Roses one race prior to the San Gabriel. The chestnut mare, making her first start since Nov. 15 for trainer Ron Ellis, won comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths under Corey Black and covered one mile on a fast track in 1:35.68 under high weight of 121 pounds.

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