12/11/2006 12:00AM

Lawrence the Roman rules

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Lawrence the Roman passed his first two-turn test in grand style and may have earned a spot on the Triple Crown trail with an 11-length victory in the $72,060 Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct.

The victory was the third in as many starts for Lawrence the Roman, a son of Point Given owned and bred by Lawrence Roman and trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. Roman, the human, said he didn't intend to name the only horse he has in training after himself and only did so after four other names he submitted were rejected.

Roman is lucky to still have the horse. Though he is the colt's breeder, Roman owned him in a partnership and the other people ultimately decided they wanted out, so the horse was sold. Roman saw the horse in the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March auction and bought him by himself for $35,000.

"I was willing to pay $200,000 for him,'' Roman said.

Lawrence the Roman ($3.30) had overcome slow starts to win his first two races by a combined 14 1/4 lengths. Sunday, under Mike Smith, Lawrence the Roman broke much better, assumed the lead soon after the start, and cruised to victory while covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.