Updated on 09/17/2011 1:43PM

Monmouth: Burning Roma by a nose

Ryan McAlinden/EQUI-PHOTO
Burning Roma #5 (right) with Jesus Castanon riding wins the $100,000 Red Bank Handicap at Monmouth Park in a tight finish over #12 Remind with Joe Bravo.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Burning Roma held off a late charge from Remind to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Red Bank Handicap, the opening-day feature.

Burning Roma ($5.60) was the favorite in the crowd of 21,869 on a cool and clear afternoon on the Jersey Shore.

The highweight in a field of 11 at 120 pounds, Burning Roma stalked a brisk pace set by Wudantunoit.

"That's where we wanted him, a little bit off the pace," said trainer Heather Giglio. "We were happy with that."

Burning Roma, with Jesus Castanon aboard, reeled in the pacesetter at the top of the lane. The 6-year-old Burning Roma opened up a clear lead on the pack but the outcome was far from secure.

"I never count him home," said Giglio. "He will wait on horses if he gets clear too soon. Jesus knows him well enough to stay after him."

Castanon kept working on Burning Roma as Remind kept cutting into the lead. At the wire, Burning Roma was in front by a nose.

Burning Roma ran the mile on the turf labeled good in 1:34.73. Remind, who rallied from 10th in the early stages, was 2 3/4 lengths clear of American Freedom in third.

The Red Bank was the only one of the three scheduled turf races to remain on the grass following heavy rain on Friday.

In other opening-day stakes, Smokume ($4), with Shannon Uske aboard for trainer Allen Jerkens, overcame a poor start with a strong rally to win the $55,000 Gilded Time Stakes by a 1 1/4 lengths over War's Prospect.

Trueamericanspirit ($13.40) rallied past odds-on favorite Something Smith to take the $60,000 John. J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds.