11/20/2002 12:00AM

Rubiano, champion, dead

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Rubiano, 1992's champion sprinter and the sire of millionaire Burning Roma, died Tuesday at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., after developing complications from laminitis. The stallion was 15.

A statement issued by the farm said Rubiano was euthanized.

Rubiano was a son of Fappiano and the Nijinsky II mare Ruby Slippers. Bred in Virginia by Third Kirsmith Racing Associates and trained by Scotty Schulhofer for Centennial Farms, Rubiano made his first start at age 3 and improved every season. Grade 2- placed in his first year at the track, he went on at 4 to win the Grade 1 NYRA Mile and the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap and finish second in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and the Grade 2 Tom Fool Stakes. Rubiano's championship season came the following year when, as a 5-year-old, he won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap and Vosburgh Stakes, the Grade 2 Tom Fool Stakes and Forego Handicap, and the Grade 3 Westchester. He also ran third behind Thirty Slews and Meafara in the 1992 Breeders' Cup Sprint. He ended his career with a record of 28-13-6-1 and $1,252,817 in earnings.

As a sire, Rubiano has gotten several top runners. Grade 1 winner Burning Roma is his leading earner to date, but Rubiano also sired Grade 2 winner Brulay, Grade 3 winner Pantufla, and Grade 1-placed stakes winner Starry Dreamer. He also is the sire of Argentine Grade 1 winner Impression. His 2002 stakes winners include Ruby's Reception, runner-up in the Grade 2 Alcibiades this year.

To date, Rubiano's progeny have earned $20,853,059 from seven crops to race. He will be buried at the Lane's End cemetery.