06/29/2006 11:00PM

Douglas parts ways with Romans


One of the most formidable jockey-trainer combinations at the Churchill Downs spring meet is no longer. Rene Douglas was taken off all horses trained by Dale Romans after the two had a disagreement about which Romans horse Douglas would ride in the first race Friday.

Douglas was named to ride Mansmind, while Julien Leparoux was named on the other Romans starter, Cat's on a Prowl. Romans said Douglas objected, saying "he didn't like my choice of horses," after which Romans said he was through with Douglas. Cat's on a Prowl was the 8-5 morning-line favorite, and Mansmind was the 3-1 second choice.

Romans replaced Douglas on all Friday mounts and planned to do the same Saturday and Sunday. Douglas did not return a Friday phone call. His current agent, Terry "Jaws" Miller, said he has not spoken to Douglas in about a month and said he was no longer employed by Douglas.

Douglas, 39, has enjoyed a sensational career in the United States since coming here from his native Panama in 1983. He rode regularly in Florida, Illinois, and California before moving to Kentucky for the Keeneland meet in April, when he and Romans joined forces. Through Thursday, Douglas had 190 mounts on Romans horses, winning 37 races and more than $1.3 million in purses. In his career, Douglas has won 3,153 races and $84,582,949 in purses.

Douglas's former longtime agent, Dennis Cooper, said he had a lengthy conversation with the jockey Friday morning.

"He said he doesn't know where he's going yet," said Cooper, acknowledging that Arlington Park, where Douglas was the dominant jockey from 2001 to 2004, is a realistic option. Arlington runs through Sept. 12.

In the meantime, Romans, easily the leading trainer at the Churchill meet, will be employing several different jockeys, including Leparoux and Rafael Bejarano.