Burning Roma held on for a head victory over a hard-charging Remind in the $100,000 Red Bank Handicap (gr. IIIT) as racing returned to Monmouth Park Saturday under blue skies, bright sunshine and a crowd of of 21,869.Burning Roma, owned by Harold Queen and trained by Heather Giglio, brought his career earnings to $1,490,037 by winning the Red Bank's top prize of $60,000. He raced the one mile over a turf course labeled good in 1:34 2/5, and paid $5.60, $4 and $3.20 across the board as the favorite in the field of 11.With Jesus Castanon aboard, the winner burst into the lead in mid-stretch, opened some daylight, and had enough left in the final strides to hold off Remind to top a $41.80 exacta. American Freedom was a clear third over Wudanunoit, the early pacesetter."What a difference a year makes," said Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager of Monmouth Park. "The weather really cooperated this year, and we had a great crowd. But the handle was up significantly, and that's a reflection of the great racing product we have. You couldn't ask for a better horserace than the Red Bank. "We've set the bar high for the rest of the season," Kulina said, "but I think the racing will continue on a high level."Last year, a rainstorm held Monmouth's opening day crowd down to 12,367." I never count him home because when he makes the lead he tends to wait on horses," a relieved Giglio said of Burning Roma.Burning Roma has a record of 13-5-6 in 33 lifetime starts, but his turf record is now three wins and two seconds in five starts.
Remind returned $6.80 and $5. American Freedom was $7.20 to show.Wudantunoit, Stormy Roman, Sardauker, Chilly Rooster, Navesink, Spruce Run, Pisces and Tam's Terms trailed.(Chart, Equibase)