02/13/2010 12:00AM

Roman Chestnut connects at 45-1

Adam Cognialese
Roman Chestnut stretched out around two turns for the first time in Saturday's Busher St akes at Aqueduct and the result was a $93 win payoff.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Roman Chestnut was not among the original nominees for Saturday's $65,000 at Aqueduct. But her connections' desire to run her long, combined with a fortuitously-timed illness, led to the filly being supplemented to the race.

That $650 investment paid huge dividends Saturday for owner Ellen O'Connell and trainer Leah Gyarmati when Roman Chestnut wore down the seemingly home-free Anchorage to win the 1 1/16-mile Busher by one length. Anchorage, who set the pace under Fernando Jara, finished second, 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Speightful Affair, the 8-5 favorite.

The longest shot on the board at 45-1, Roman Chestnut returned $93.50 for a $2 bet. She was timed in 1:45.93 over a fast track.

Roman Chestnut, who finished second in a $25,000 claiming race going six furlongs on Jan. 14, gave 22-year-old apprentice rider Angel Serpa his first stakes

victory. It was the first stakes victory for Gyarmati since Flippy Diane won the Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel in 1999.

"Finally got the filly to long,'' said Herbie Castillo, the former rider who works as an assistant to Gyarmati, who was in Florida at a horse sale. "We felt we needed to stretch her out.''

Roman Chestnut won a $75,000 claiming race at Belmont last October, her only victory from five starts, all sprint races. Roman Chestnut was entered in a one-mile starter allowance here on Jan. 31, but had to scratch when she developed a temperature, Castillo said.

Finding a suitable spot for Roman Chestnut was not easy, so the decision was made to try the stakes.

"Sometimes these races come up like a one-other-than, or two-other than,'' Castillo said. "It was the right call.''

Roman Chestnut sat in fourth position while Anchorage got loose on the lead. Roman Chestnut made her move around the far turn, and was third turning for home. At the eighth pole, Roman Chestnut was still four lengths behind Anchorage, but she was able to wear down that rival in the final 30 yards.

"I thought [Anchorage] was gone,'' Serpa said through an interpreter.

The connections of Anchorage thought the same.

"Fernando felt she was starting to idle and started looking around the last eighth of a mile, sixteenth of a mile,'' said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "I'll talk to Todd, but possibility an equipment change is in her future.''