Q&A With Janet Rome, Co-Owner of America's Best Thoroughbred

The Life

Janet and Jim Rome after winning the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint with Mizdirection. (Photos courtesy Janet Rome)

Janet Rome is the wife of sports personality Jim Rome and the mother to their two sons, Jake and Logan. Together Jim and Janet own Jungle Racing, which has campaigned, in partnership, top racehorses including Mizdirection, Gypsy Robin and most recently champion Shared Belief, who is expected to be a heavy favorite in Saturday’s $1.5-million Charles Town Classic Stakes.

What does it feel like to own Shared Belief, the No. 1-ranked racehorse in the world?

It’s almost indescribable as it doesn’t even seem real. Shared Belief has taken us all on a ride of a lifetime. We love him, and we’re all just grateful to be a part of Team Shared Belief!

THE ROMES WITH ALEX SOLIS, JASON LITT AND BRITTANY SOLIS AT THE 2014 ECLIPSE AWARDS

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing:

Growing up in Long Beach, Calif., about once a year my parents would take my brothers and me to Los Alamitos and Santa Anita Park. I remember how exciting it was to watch the horses run past. I didn’t really understand Thoroughbred racing until I was in the radio broadcasting business in San Diego. I would go with friends from the Noble Broadcast Group to Del Mar a few times during the season and we would have such memorable times.

Favorite race track(s):

Del Mar and Santa Anita. You can’t beat those beautiful views and weather anywhere!

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event:

The Breeders’ Cup.

Other sports/teams I follow:

West Coast Baseball Club’s 10- and 14-year-old teams. You can find this mom at their practices and games almost every night of the week.

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing:

More marketing and promotion to bring in a younger group of fans. More people involved in groups like CARMA, which raises funds for the care and retraining of retired Thoroughbreds.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me:

Family … friends … thrills. Our horses are part of our family and this is a passion that we love to share with our HUMAN family members and friends.

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was:

Los Alamitos (although Thoroughbreds didn’t race at that time) and Santa Anita Park.

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred:

That’s like asking me which is my favorite son! Shared Belief, Mizdirection, Surfer Girl, Miss Radiance, Gallatin’s Run, El Manuel, Gypsy Robin, Hot n’ Dusty and all of the other horses that we’ve been fortunate enough to own and love.

THE ROME FAMILY WITH MIZDIRECTION IN DEAUVILLE, FRANCE

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing:

Mizdirection’s 2012 Breeders' Cup win. Miz had just come off of a six-month layoff (longer than any other Breeders’ Cup winner, ever), and she beat the boys down the hill. I couldn’t breathe when the horses were in the starting gate, and the moment she won and the days to follow were surreal.

Best racetrack food can be found at:

Del Mar. Their fish tacos are a winner!

My favorite jockey:

Mike Smith, who rode Mizdirection to two Breeders’ Cup wins for us, and who is doing a phenomenal job with Shared Belief. We couldn’t be prouder or more grateful to Mike.

My favorite trainer:

Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Puype ... two of the hardest-working trainers in the business.

JANET WITH SHARED BELIEF AFTER THE SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

My heroes:

My still active 90- and 93-year-old mother and father, Betty and Lynn Hagman (a World War II and Korean War veteran), and my husband, Jim. All kind, loving, selfless people who worked extremely hard, made sacrifices for their family, live life with the highest morals and values, are tremendous role models for their children, grandchildren and those around them, always have a positive attitude and who have spent their lives helping others.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with:

Our trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. Jim and I haven’t been able to nail him down for a dinner yet because he’s always working, but I’m hoping this is the year!

My philosophy on life:

Be kind to all. Be grateful. Count your blessings, and live a life of helping others.

Favorite animal other than a horse:

Cat

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended:

The NCAA Final Four and the Brickyard 500. Two completely different sports, but both exhilarating.

Favorite food:

Mexican food

Favorite city:

San Diego, Calif. and Big Sky, Mont.

THE ROMES IN BIG SKY, MONTANA

 

Favorite hotel:

The Grand Del Mar - a stunning property with great atmosphere, wonderful restaurants and an exceptional staff.

Websites I visit daily:

Teamsnap.com to check our two sons’ baseball teams’ practice and game schedules.

What I drive:

I enjoy driving an Escalade filled with the sounds of joy and laughter of our children and their friends.

Pet peeve:

Unkind people

Favorite movie about horse racing:

“Seabiscuit”

Favorite radio shows/channels:

“The Jim Rome Show,” of course!

Best book I recently read:

I’ve read one great book in the last five years, but I hope to start reading again when our sons are grown and off to college. The book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo.

JANET, JIM AND SON LOGAN AFTER THE 2014 PACIFIC CLASSIC

Favorite dessert:

My mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie, made with love and lemons from my parents’ backyard. The same lemon tree that I climbed in when I was young.

Favorite drink:

Grey Goose vodka and tonic

Favorite scent:

Cartier Paris perfume

What I like about my job:

I loved working in the radio industry previously, but being a mother is the greatest job I could have ever been blessed to have. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, and it’s so much more rewarding and gratifying than I could have ever imagined. I’m so proud of our sons, Jake and Logan, and I cherish every moment of my job. Well, maybe not EVERY moment!

People I follow on Twitter:   

Alison Triessl, Kevin Frazier and Jim Rome

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