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Ohio champion Rompaway Galaxy has been a pleasant surprise
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- He trotted eight miles this year, compiled a record of 7-1-0, captured the $150,000 Ohio Sire Stakes final for his age, sex and gait, and was a head away from being undefeated. What is intriguing is Rompaway Galaxy accomplished all this without regular pilot Mike Micallef ever pulling his ear plugs.

This, however, wasn’t exactly by design on Micallef’s part. It was because Krista Williams, the 2-year-old gelding’s conditioner, never attached the string.

“Mike asked me if I was going to hook it up,” she said. “But we had to geld him early on, not because he was mean, but because he wasn’t paying attention and my husband would have to jog him two more miles than the other horses just to get him to settle down. Any time you put a 2-year-old behind the gate you have concerns, but I always had in the back of my mind how wild he could be, so I kept wondering if the Jekyll and Hyde thing would happen when he was on the track. I told Mike he could hear with them in so there was no sense in changing anything because I just didn’t want that to come out in him.”

Conrad photo
Rompaway Galaxy was a 1:57.4 winner in the $150,000 Ohio Sire Stakes final.

Owned by Rompaway Farms, Rompaway Galaxy is a Michigan-foaled son of Rompaway Wally and Rompaway Wynona. With $161,550 on his card, he is the only $100,000 horse by his sire, who only has seven total starters with a bankroll of $218,023.

The stallion was trained by Williams’ husband Don Harmon for the last four years of his career and collected just under $300,000 during his days of competition.

Rompaway Wally was bred to be any kind of horse, as his dam Cheerful Yankee (Speed Bowl) is a half-sister to Yankee Windsong (Prakas). That mare just happened to drop Windsong’s Legacy and both horses share the same father in Conway Hall.

“Mr. Smith (the owner of Rompaway Farms) decided he was going to cut back and he didn’t need a stallion anymore so when I found out I talked to my husband about taking him, because I didn’t want to see him Amished out or gelded,” Williams said. “He told me we didn’t need a stallion and I knew he was right, but I told him that it was Wally. We took care of him and we should do right by him now. I’m not looking for him to become a big stud, but just to have a chance. Maybe Rompaway will bring him some attention. He’s such nice horse that never really had the opportunity to prove himself and he’s so good you wouldn’t even know we have a stud around. He pays his own feed bill and that’s all you can ask.”

The gelding is certainly holding up his end of the bargain. Rompaway Galaxy commenced his career with a debut triumph at Northfield Park in a $30,000 Ohio Sire Stakes contest on July 3 and followed that up with three more wins. Two were at Scioto Downs, one in another Sire Stakes leg and the other in the Ohio State Fair stakes, with the third at Hoosier Park, where Williams is based, in a $6,100 2-year-old race.

He then suffered his first defeat on August 9 at Scioto Downs in a $24,000 Ohio Breeders Stakes race after being locked in with Soul Train, the horse on the outside, getting the jump and even with a :28.1 last quarter just missed getting to the wire on time.

“I’m not one that really is worried about a perfect record,” Williams said. “But I wondered during the race what Mike was doing with him. In all his races he was taking him out at the half and putting him on the outside. That was what had been working and Mike changed his tactics this time.”

Rompaway Galaxy picked up where he left off before that evening and nabbed two more victories in $30,000 Ohio Sire Stakes races before capturing the final on Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs.

After that last win he was turned out and was just brought in two weeks ago to begin preparation for his sophomore campaign.

“We knew he had some talent, but I always had in the back of my mind that wildness might come out on the racetrack,” Williams said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it never did. He saves that for off the track and has been professional every time he steps on it.

One night at Scioto he was just walking around looking at everyone on the apron and I was thinking to myself, ‘Come on Rompaway you have to start warming up because this is a race.’ He’s been like that the whole time and it’s been a pleasant surprise.”

The gelding will probably follow the same schedule he did this year with the goals being the Ohio Sire Stakes and maybe a race or two at Hoosier Park, but one thing is for sure -- Williams is definitely looking forward to 2014.

“He was always a tall horse, but in August he kind of went through a growth spurt and started looking really skinny,” Williams said. “I hate skinny horses, but we just couldn’t keep a lot of weight on him because of that and when they are racing they become fit. When we brought him in after two and a half months of eating hay all day, the first thing I said was he looks fat so we have to get him back to work to get that off him.

He’s bigger than Wally now and has matured. It’s what you want to see. So we will take him down to Florida after Christmas like we did last year and get him ready. It was so exciting to have him do what he did last year and I can’t wait to see how this year turns out.”

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