09/05/2005 12:00AM

Monmouth: Repeat for Stormy Roman

Ryan McAlinden/EQUI-PHOTO
Stormy Roman, and jockey Aaron Gryder, get ahead of Ballonenostrikes at the wire to win the $60,000 Bob Harding Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Stormy Roman rallied for a repeat victory in the $60,000 Bob Harding Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The Harding was the final race run over the course, which will be torn up this week and have new sod added later in the fall in preparation for the 2007 Breeders' Cup.

Stormy Roman ($8.80) won twice in eight trips over the course. Both times he rallied to capture the Harding, a one-mile race named for the late turf writer for the Newark Star-Ledger.

A 6-year-old gelding, Stormy Roman was winless in four starts this season. Trainer Tim Hills said he felt Stormy Roman needed a victory to restore his confidence, so he scratched Stormy Roman from the $200,000 Caesar Rodney Handicap at Delaware Park on Saturday.

"I thought this was the perfect spot for him," Hills said. "Hopefully we can fill in the gaps with a couple of more victories."

Ridden by Aaron Gryder, Stormy Roman fell as far back as ninth before kicking home down the center of the course. He got up by a head over Ballonenostrikes, who had closed to grab a narrow lead with a furlong to run. Foreverness was third. Stormy Roman was clocked in 1:35.38.

Hills said Stormy Romans will make his next start in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Handicap at The Meadowlands Racetrack on Oct. 14.

Also on the Labor Day card, odds-on favorite Forest Park ($3.40) was an easy winner in the $75,000 Icecapade Stakes, prevailing by two lengths over Spooky Mulder in 1:09.31. The field of eight scratched down to only four runners for the six-furlong race.