Burning Roma Among 11 in Stuyvesant

Burning Roma, who has beaten Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi, is among 11 colts and geldings entered In Tuesday's $100,000-added Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

Burning Roma outgamed Volponi in the Oct. 4 Meadowlands Cup (gr. II).

Volponi, of course, rebounded off that loss and demolished America's top handicap horses a week ago in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).

The Stuyvesant is run at nine furlongs on the main track.

Trainer Heather Giglio said she never considered entering Burning Roma, a millionaire, in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but admitted it wasn't easy watching Volponi toy with the competition in a $4 million race.

"Sure it was tough, but our horse is just starting to come around," Giglio said from Delaware Park. "He's starting to put everything together now. He's doing better and better."

A colt by Rubiano, Burning Roma has been a graded stakes performer since the fall of 2000 and New Yorkers have seen him in races like the Futurity, Jerome and Carter Handicaps. In that span, he has bounced around to a number of different barns, changing trainers four times. This is the second time Burning Roma has been stabled in Giglio's Delaware Park shedrow.

"It's definitely a big plus having him back," said Giglio, who has trained for Burning Roma's owner, Harold Queen, for more than a decade.

"I've been with Mr. Queen for a long time. He's got a farm in Ohio and I first had horses for him in Cleveland."

Burning Roma, who drew post 8 as the 120-pound high weight in the Stuyvesant, will likely ship to New York on Tuesday morning.

"He doesn't have a problem shipping around," Giglio said. "I'm looking forward to running him in New York. He doesn't care for the track here at Delaware. He likes a faster track."

Mrs. Bernard Daney's Docent has won his last four starts on the dirt and will ship up from Delaware Park for trainer Tim Ritchey. A Pennsylvania-bred, Docent defeated Burning Roma in the August 10 West Virginia Governors Cup at Mountaineer by a neck. Since, Docent has won two restricted stakes, one at Pimlico, the other at Philadelphia Park.

"He's just a good horse," Ritchey said. "We've beaten some of the best Pennsylvania-breds and have beaten all different kinds of horses in the race at Mountaineer and Pimlico. He's an easy horse to train. He'll run over anything."

Although Docent has won races at six different distances – ranging from six furlongs to nine and a half furlongs - Ritchey believes the Waquoit colt is best at the Stuyvesant distance.

"He can win at seven furlongs," Ritchey said. "That's a distance when the true sprinters tend to stop a bit, but I think he's best suited to eight-and-a-half and nine furlong races."

Docent finished fourth, less than four lengths behind Evening Attire and Street Cry in Aqueduct's Discovery (gr. III) in 2001.

$100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III), 1 1/8 mile, 3 & up

1 Griffinite, Jorge Chavez, 114
2 Coyote Lakes, Mike Luzzi, 113
3 Country Be Gold, Jean-Luc Samyn, 113
4 Runspastum, Richard Migliore, 115
5 Windsor Castle, John Velazquez, 115
6 Snake Mountain, Jose Santos, 114
7 Docent, Edgar Prado, 115
8 Burning Roma, Eibar Coa, 120
9 My Request, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 111
10 Open Sesame, Victor Carrero, 114
11 Cat's at Home, Javier Castellano, 117