Burning Roma (2) wins the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup.

Burning Roma (2) wins the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup.

AP/Equi-Photo: Bill Denver

Burning Roma Scores Meadowlands Cup Upset

Burning Roma moved to the front down the backstretch and never looked back, winning the 25th renewal of the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup (gr. II) on Friday night by 3/4 of a length.

"He wanted to go early so I just let him go," said winning rider Eibar Coa. "I broke kind of slow, but I saw everyone taking a hold so I just decided to go and he really responded for me."

The 4-year-old colt by Rubiano covered the 1 1/8 mile on a fast main track in 1:48 4/5 and returned $28.40, $10.80 and $8.60. Race favorite Volponi paid $3.80 and $3.20 and completed a $119.20 exacta. It was another 1 1/4 length back to Windsor Castle, who rallied for third and paid $8.20 to show.

"He's just been getting better," said trainer Heather Giglio, who became the first female conditioner to win the Meadowlands Cup. She took over training duties from William Mott in June.

"He does like the track here, he loves it," she said. "I didn't expect him to be in front, but he made the lead and kept on going. I'm not sure where he'll go next. We'll take him back home to Delaware and assess the situation."

Burning Roma was coming off of a 6 1/4-length win in the Alysheba Sept. 13 at The Meadowlands.

The $240,000 winner's share of the $400,000 purse made Burning Roma racing's newest millionaire, improving his lifetime earnings to $1,205,537 for owner Harold Queen. He won for the 10th time in 22 starts.

"He broke good and I took hold of him," said Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Volponi. "I wanted him to settle wherever he was happiest. When Include came up, he bumped us for a couple of strides and we lost some of our momentum. When he straightened out, he was running hard, but the other horse had more."

(Chart, Equibase)