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Success breeds success in Oaks, Tampa Bay Derby

Familiar names produce winners Quick Tip, Burning Roma.

If you were to concoct the perfect combination for Tampa Bay Downs' signature races, Will Farish would breed and own the horse, Neil Howard would train it and Richard Migliore would ride it.

The three asserted their dominance Sunday as Farish-breds won the $200,000 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade III $150,000 Florida Oaks, both under Migliore.

Quick Tip's half-length victory in the Oaks gave Howard consecutive wins in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. Last year he and Farish, President Bush's nominee for ambassador to England, became the first owner/trainer combination to win the race twice. They also won the 1998 Tampa Bay Derby with Parade Ground.

"I'd like to think I have a stranglehold on (the Oaks)," Howard said.

Burning Roma made a move at the 5/16th pole, then drew off for a 2}-length win in the Tampa Bay Derby, improving his credentials as a possible threat in the Triple Crown season.

Burning Roma, owned by Clearwater's Harold Queen, maintained his lead under strong urging from Migliore, who rode him for the first time.

Migliore, who rode Wheelaway to victory in the 2000 Tampa Bay Derby, said Burning Roma compares "very favorably" with the colt that finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Belmont.

"Wheelaway had very little seasoning but a world of talent," he said. "This horse has both. Honestly, I don't think I gave him the best of rides because I didn't know him. When I tipped him in the clear, he took me there a little earlier than I would have liked. Now, knowing him, if I were to ride him more judiciously, I think you'd see an even stronger finish."

The Rubiano colt covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.30, paying $3.80, $2.80 and $2.40. American Prince was second, Paging third.

Burning Roma, fourth-place finisher in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile and winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes on March 3 at Tampa Bay Downs, improved to 2-0 this year and handed trainer Heather Giglio a $12,000 present before he is sent back to Laurel Park in Maryland to train under Tony Dutrow.

"He ran perfect," said Giglio, who received a 10 percent trainer's share of the purse. "He looked like he had a ton of horse left."

The colt is being groomed for either the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, both April 14.

Burning Roma's bid was helped when a field thin on experience thinned further with the midday scratch of Bill Mott's Mongoose. The son of Broad Brush was excluded because his connections forgot to bring his foal papers, which prove a horse's identity.

Migliore, riding Quick Tip for the first time also, stalked the brisk early pace of Rich Peace before taking over down the stretch and winning by a half-length over Southern Fiction. Emery Board, a late supplement, rallied from fourth to third.

Quick Tip finished in 1:45.36 and paid $10.00, $5.40 and $3.80.

"I thought she had a reasonable chance to come in here and run well," Howard said. "I was surprised _ not shocked."

Howard will ship Quick Tip to Churchill Downs before consulting with Farish on her future.

With the Hillsborough Stakes, Oaks and Tampa Bay Derby beamed to tracks in New York and California, Tampa Bay Downs set a record for handle, $3,899,200.

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