02/17/2005 12:00AM

Stormy Roman all prepped


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Stormy Roman, who led to the final strides of the recent Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, makes his second start of 2005 against 11 others in Saturday's $100,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup on the turf.

Manny Aguilar will ride Stormy Roman, a six-time winner on grass, for trainer Timothy Hills at 123 pounds. In the 1 1/16-mile Ft. Lauderdale, Stormy Roman charged from eighth in the 12-horse field after the front-runners had cut out a blistering pace that included a six-furlong clocking of 1:08.89. He drove to the lead a furlong out, only to be run down late to finish third behind Union Place and Freefourinternet, losing it all by a half-length.

That race was the first in almost two months for Stormy Roman, who last season at Monmouth Park won the Bob Harding Stakes and finished third, beaten just a head, in the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap.

Like most turf races run locally, the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup is a wide-open betting race. Among those who bear watching is Wire Bound, winner of the Pete Axthelm, Sir Omni, and Simply Majestic stakes last season on the turf at Calder. Wire Bound closed well for second in a prep for the Tampa Bay BC coming off a seven-week break, but he was disqualified and placed fifth for coming in nearing the finish.

Demeteor, who just missed upsetting the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight over 1 1/2 miles last time out, turns back in distance making his first start since December. Remind, from the stable of Bill Mott, makes his first start since June. He was just a head back of Burning Roma in the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth last year.

A fascinating entrant is Above the Wind, arguably the fastest horse on the grounds and winner of the Pelican and Super stakes. Above the Wind has yet to win in four career starts on grass. His presence guarantees a hot pace.