ELMONT, N.Y. - After winning two races impressively in Maryland, Burning Roma blazed into New York yesterday and defeated some of the top 2-year-olds in the country.
Trained by Tony Dutrow at Laurel Park, the Kentucky-bred son of Rubiano captured the Grade I, $200,000 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park. Burning Roma nearly got knocked down at the start of the 1-mile race and also at the finish.
The stewards placed him first after City Zip, the favorite on a four-race win streak, slammed into him just before the wire. Burning Roma had surged from last after Shooter nearly bumped him to his knees at the start. Dutrow, who remained in Maryland as his brother, Richard, saddled the horse, said by phone afterward that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs may now be on Burning Roma's agenda.
Asked whether Burning Roma was good enough for the Breeders' Cup, his jockey Rick Wilson said: "Definitely. Of course, they'll say he's from Maryland and hasn't beaten anybody. He has now."
Burning Roma, who finished in 1 minute, 37.9 seconds, paid $37, $11.60 and $5.60. City Zip paid $3.20 and $2.40. Scorpion, 4 3/4 lengths back, returned $3.20.- Tom Keyser