Updated on 09/16/2011 7:09AM

Roman Romance holds edge


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Woodbine introduced a lucrative new program this year of maiden special weight races and first-level allowance races restricted to Ontario-sired runners. Two races for Ontario-sired horses are the only two non-claiming races on Friday's 10-race Woodbine card.

The featured eighth race, a five-furlong first-level allowance race for older fillies and mares, is worth $59,100.

Roman Romance is the lone entrant in the eight-horse field who has run this year. She pressed the pace in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance here March 30 and weakened in the stretch, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner in fourth, but only two lengths out of second place.

Roman Romance won one of 10 starts in 2001, a $40,000 maiden claimer. She was a respectable fourth behind Marisa Go, Sheila's Prospect, and the since-unbeaten American in Paris in her final appearance of the year in allowance company.

Jono Jones has the call to ride from trainer John Simms, who is putting blinkers on Roman Romance for the first time.

Marjorie Daw, third in the restricted Passing Mood Stakes on turf last year, is the classiest runner in the lineup but is unplaced in four starts on the main track. She was a nonthreatening fourth in a tough dirt allowance won by Cherry Tree Hill in her most recent start, here on Nov. 3 for trainer Laurie Silvera.

Royal Ascot has been off since July, when she finished fourth behind Highland Mood, Moonlight Affair, and Marjorie Daw in the Passing Mood. She won her previous start, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special on June 29.

Barby Sue is the probable early pacemaker, but she hasn't done anything of note since she won her maiden in her debut at 2. A 4-year-old trained by Sue Leslie, Barby Sue breezed three-eighths in 36 seconds over the main track on Saturday.

Also in the field are Lightning Pace, Cat on a Roof, Palace of Dreams, and Ebony Countess.

The 10th, a maiden special weight for 3- and 4-year-old fillies, carries a $56,400 purse.

Oh Livia D., a nominee to the April 21 Lady Angela Stakes, should be well backed in the six-furlong race. Oh Livia D. was a fast-closing third after breaking poorly in her lone start, in a six-furlong maiden special on Dec. 2.

Bobdiwaynesueval, another Lady Angela nominee, finished fourth, fifth, and fifth in her three starts as a 2-year-old last year, including a fifth in the South Ocean Stakes.

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