Burning Roma Again in Tampa Breeders' Cup

(from Tampa Bay Downs report)
Harold Queen's multiple stakes winner Burning Roma put another notch in his gun Saturday when the millionaire held off the late charge of Remind by a short neck to take his second consecutive Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup at Tampa Bay Downs.

The venerable campaigner looked eager to run Saturday after breaking well from the second post position but was expertly rated by winning jockey Jesus Castanon in a full 12-horse field.

That was the strategy for the 1 1/16-mile turf test according to Queen.

" We wanted him just off the pace," the owner said. "The game plan was to lay fourth or fifth and Jesus rode him perfectly. He asked him at just the right time."

Final time was 1:41 3/5 for the 1 1/16-mile grass test over a course officially labeled "firm" though the race was run under showery conditions.

Sitting about 2 ½ lengths off the early front line of Milky Way – who set a Tampa course record for five furlongs in his previous outing – Burning Roma was running smoothly in the second flight through early fractions of :22 3/5 and :46.

Running easily up the backstretch, Burning Roma began a move nearing the three-eighths pole while in a little tight as Above the Wind hit the lead, tripping the six-furlong timer at 1:10 1/5.

As they rounded the turn, Castanon moved out three wide, tapped his mount right-handed, and the 6-year-old son of Rubbiano burst forward to open a clear lead nearing the furlong marker.

The race was far from over though as the Bill Mott-trained Remind, the 2-1 wagering favorite ridden by Brice Blanc, had commenced his own four-wide bid from eighth place rounding the turn and was closing fast while in full flight to Burning Roma's outside.

Remind was flying in the final 70 yards and just missed.

" We might have been a little short for this race," Queen said. "If [Burning Roma] had another race in him, it might not have been so close."

Brett Rice's homebred Native Hawk was third, 2 ½ lengths behind Remind.

Burning Roma returned $8.80, $4.20 and $3.80 as the 3-1 third wagering choice. Remind paid $3 and $2.80. Native Hawk's show was $9.80. The $2 exacta was worth $41.40.

Trained by Heather Giglio, Burning Roma was bred in Kentucky by William Farish. He improved his record to 30-12-4-5 with the win and boosted his earnings to $1,385,037 with the $60,000 winner's share of the purse.

(Chart, Equibase)

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