09/23/2006 12:00AM

King of the Roxy improving with experience

King of the Roxy wins the Futurity on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The experience King of the Roxy gained when finishing second in last month's Saratoga Special paid dividends for the colt in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 at Belmont Park.

King of the Roxy rallied four wide on the turn, took over from Incriminate in upper stretch, and was able to fend off a late challenge from C P West to win the Futurity by three-quarters of a length before a crowd of 5,802.

It was three lengths back to Kong's Revenge in third. Incriminate finished fourth, followed by Sam P. and Fernando Po.

It was the first stakes win for King of the Roxy, an Ohio-bred son of Littleexpectations trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by the Team Valor Stables.

In the Saratoga Special, King of the Roxy seemed a bit timid to go by Chace City in the stretch while finishing second.

In the Futurity, King of the Roxy rated kindly while in hand for John Velazquez, made a run to pass the front-running Incriminate in upper stretch and despite waiting on challengers down the lane, he was able to get the win. King of the Roxy ran seven furlongs in 1:24.09 and returned $4.60 as the favorite.

"Last time we felt like he got there and he was eyeballing that horse a little bit," Pletcher said. "Not that he couldn't have got by, but he was more focused on the horse than going on by him. The only thing we talked about was if we got to that position today, and you got one, try to go ahead and put them away and not give him that opportunity to think about it.''

Said Velazquez: "As soon as I passed that horse in front he started waiting. I spanked him and he kind of got surprised; he went on and opened up and started waiting. The thing is he can be better if he puts it all together."

C P West, a good-looking debut winner at Saratoga, was about a length behind the winner at the quarter pole but couldn't run him down in the stretch.

"No excuses, but if you get the outside and maybe [King of the Roxy] draws inside . . . '' trainer Nick Zito said. "He still has to wait to make his move. He ran gallant. I was very proud of him."

Pletcher said he would most likely train King of the Roxy up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.