Burning Roma Begins Sophomore Season With Sam Davis Win

For the second straight year a prep race for an obscure Kentucky Derby prep may have some impact on the Triple Crown series as Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Burning Roma emerged victoriously Saturday from his 2001 debut in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. In last year's renewal of the Tampa Bay Derby prep race, Impeachment -- who would subsequently finish third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes -- finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile event.

The victory was the fourth in six starts for the 3-year-old son of Rubiano, but his first while trained by Heather Giglio. As a juvenile, Burning Roma was trained by Anthony Dutrow.

After racing in seventh-place through the early going, 7-10 favorite Burning Roma rallied while five wide under jockey Juan Umana to gain a one-length lead at the stretch call and maintained that advantage to the wire. The winner completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.20 on a fast track.

American Prince finished second, a neck in front of Talking Red. Saint Damien finished fourth, followed by Percy Hope, A. P. Topper, the winner's stablemate Cielo's Honour, Waltz King, and Dig This Coyote.

Burning Roma was bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish and earned $21,000 for the win. He returned $3.40, $2.40, and $2.20 and led an exacta worth $24.40. (Chart, Equibase)