08/11/2005 11:00PM

On Beyers, Roman Romance untouchable


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Roman Romance, a stakes-winning mare from the barn of John Simms, towers over her opponents in the Golden Horseshoe, the second of a pair of $30,000, 1 1/16-mile Cup races here Sunday.

The Cup races are restricted to horses that have had at least two previous starts at the meet. The Golden Horseshoe is for fillies and mares, and the Peace Bridge is for male runners.

Roman Romance, 7, is a winner of eight races and $510,982. Her four opponents on Sunday include a maiden and two one-time winners.

Orientalspringhope, 9 years old and seemingly past her prime, should win a battle for second. She has scored eight times, but only once in 17 starts over the past two years.

Roman Romance has registered five Beyers over 80 in her six races in Ontario this year. The highest figure earned by any of the other contestants in 2005 was a 62 by Orientalspringhope.

"I'm waiting for the fall stakes at Woodbine," said Simms. "And there's no place now to run [Roman Romance]. This may be her last year, and we want to add to her win column and purse earnings. She may be put on the market as a broodmare."

Simms also has a contender in the Peace Bridge Cup as he will saddle Disbelief, who will be making his second start in a route race.

Disbelief, 4, is a winner of four sprints and finished second to Hunter Todd at a mile and 70 yards on July 12.

Disbelief is coming back after just one week's rest as he finished fifth in the six-furlong Don Valliere Memorial, the first of the Cup races. It was the first time Disbelief wasn't first or second since Simms claimed him six starts ago in Tampa Bay.

"Disbelief was wide the whole try and too close up early," said Simms.

Hunter Todd, a 7-year-old, is undefeated this year in three starts - all routes - and should go off as the favorite in the Peace Bridge.

Owned by 19-year-old Jonathan Hasmatali, whose father, Daryl Hasmatali, is the trainer, Hunter Todd won 5 of 12 starts last year and is 6 for 7 overall in his Fort Erie outings.

"I got [Hunter Todd] just before he started winning last year," said the younger Hasmatali. "I'm the groom and the hotwalker. And right now, he's the best he's ever been since I've had him. It will take a good one to beat him on Sunday."

Hasmatali believes that Disbelief and Open Lock will be the main obstacles. He pointed out that Open Lock is deft on the off going.