ELMONT, N.Y. (WDRB) – Louisville native Dale Romans found himself in the right place at the right time at Citi Field in Queens on Tuesday night – and not for the first time.

The Louisville native and trainer of Belmont contender Free Drop Billy left his seat in the left field stands to find a woman in her twenties who looked to be choking in the concourse. Romans, who has some experience saving a choking person, didn’t hesitate.

“I came up the back of the steps toward the rest room and this lady and her daughter are there,” Romans told the NYRA notes crew at Belmont. “She's kind of bent over a table, one of those little things around the post where you put your condiments and stuff. You could tell she was in distress," Her mother keeps telling the security guard, 'Get somebody, help her, get somebody.' I walked over and said, 'Do you want the Heimlich?' And she shook her head yes. She couldn't speak.”

Romans administered the Heimlich maneuver, and the woman was able to cough up what was lodged in her throat and began to breathe.

“I grabbed her and two or three pops and she got rid of what was in her throat, got up and she was fine,” Romans said. “She might not have died but it definitely got her out of distress. She might have died; she couldn't breathe.”

Romans joked that he might be due some divine intervention in the Belmont. He’s finished third in the race four times – including to American Pharoah in 2015 with Keen Ice. In Free Drop Billy, he has the only Grade 1 winner in the race besides Justify.

Whatever the case, it wasn’t the first time Romans stepped in to assist a choking victim. He performed the Heimlich on bloodstock agent Buzz Chace some years back.

“We were playing golf one day and he got a hot dog stuck in his throat. He was bad. He would have died, but I got it out of him," Romans said. "Everybody should learn the Heimlich."

Romans was feeling good Thursday morning after taking his colt to the track for a gallop.

“I thought he looked good, real good," Romans said. "He looked excellent, about as good as he's ever looked - ears up, happy, content. He just kind of bounced around there. The hard part's behind us now. It's just a matter of keeping him happy."

Romans said he’ll gallop Free Drop Billy again Friday morning, as well as school him in the paddock to “give him a chance to look around.”

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