02/25/2012 6:21PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Roman Tiger tops string of longshots

Tom Cooley Photography
Roman Tiger gets up to win the Tampa Stakes at 28-1.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Roman Tiger, a 28-1 shot, slipped through along the rail in the stretch under Angel Serpa and was up in the final strides to top a trio of longshots in the Grade 3, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes over a mile and a sixteenth of turf Saturday.

Roman Tiger, who had broken poorly in his only other start this season in the Sunshine Millions Turf, posted just his third win from 29 career starts and returned $59.40 as he just outnoddeed 33- 1 pacesetter El Commodore on the wire. Swift Warrior closed fast while eight wide in the stretch to wind up third, a half-length back back with late closing Allie's Event fourth in the 12-horse field.

Trained by Dennis Manning, Roman Tiger covered the mile and a sixteenth over a firm turf course in 1:40.42.

The 1-5 exacta returned a whopping $1,393.60, the 1-5-4 trifecta was worth $8,996.00 and the 1-5-4-11 $1 superfecta paid $141,764

* In the $30,000 supporting handicap feature at 6 1/2 furlongs White Merlot pulled off a stunning upset when she ran down the overwhelming 1-5 choice It's Me Mom in the closing strides for a half-length win in track-record time.

Trained by Robert Smith and ridden by Pablo Morales, White Merlot was timed in 1:16.02, eclipsing the old record of 1:16.09. She returned $14.80.

It's Me Mom, who held a three-length lead into the final furlong, was easily second, five lengths to the good of Edie, but suffered her first loss from her last five starts.

White Merlot earned $19,200 for her efforts and ran her career earnings to $136,750. The win was the fourth from 11 starts for White Merlot.