11/11/2004 12:00AM

Stormy Roman needs his best

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Stormy Roman, winning the Bob Harding at Monmouth in September, earned a career-best 104 Beyer for his victory in last year's Bonnie Heath.

MIAMI - Stormy Roman and Love That Moon both registered upsets during last year's Florida Million program. On Saturday, Stormy Roman returns to defend his title in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup and Love That Moon is back in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap, two of the more wide-open races on this year's Florida Million card.

Stormy Roman came from the back of the pack to register a two-length victory over Music's Storm in the 2003 Bonnie Heath, with Proud Man finishing third as the 3-5 favorite.

, who earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory here a year ago, comes into the race off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Handicap at The Meadowlands. Trainer Tim Hills took some of the blame for that performance.

"It was a pretty salty race, and I probably had the rider lay Stormy Roman a little closer than he wants to be, and as a result we got outfinished," said Hills. "I think he's coming into this race as good as he was last year - maybe better.

"The Bonnie Heath was probably the best race he ever ran, which was due in part to the turf course having a little give to it, and I'm hoping that will be the case again Saturday."

was beaten soundly, nearly four lengths, by Stormy Roman in the 2003 Bonnie Heath, but he turned the tables to win Gulfstream Park's Sunshine Millions Turf last January. Laid up from March 21 until Oct. 9, Proud Man returned with a seventh-place finish after a wide trip in Belmont Park's Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at a mile. This should set him up perfectly for an improved effort in Saturday's rematch with Stormy Roman.

A fast pace is likely for the Bonnie Heath with Gin and Sin, Smooth Lover, and Bob's Proud Moment (also entered in the Carl G. Rose Classic) in the lineup. Of that trio, Gin and Sin is the most accomplished, having already won a pair of stakes this year and narrowly missing in two others, including the Grade 3 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne on Oct. 9.

A pair of California invaders, Sigfreto and Grafton, also loom as key contenders. Sigfreto, claimed by trainer Doug O'Neill for $20,000 in

early August, has won two straight. Grafton was beaten a neck by third-level optional claiming and allowance company last month at Santa Anita.

Jack Dudley: Built Up top challenger

rallied from midpack to post a three-quarter-length victory over Pick'em in the 2003 Jack Dudley Sprint but may be facing an even tougher field when he tries to repeat on Saturday. The late-running gelding was slow to come around after missing the opening half of the current campaign, but showed he was back in top form with a 3 1/2-length victory five weeks ago in the Reappeal Stakes.

The versatile tops a long list of contenders, despite turning back in distance after a hard-fought head victory at 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap three weeks ago. Earlier this summer, Built Up was beaten a neck by Champali and Clock Stopper in the six-furlong Smile Sprint Handicap.

The speedy F J's Pace returns to his roots as well as the main course following a steady diet of turf starts for O'Neill. F J's Pace should ensure honest fractions in the six-furlong Jack Dudley, along with fellow California invader Onebadshark and Scrubs.

Weigelia, one of the top 3-year-old sprinters on the East Coast since the summer, is back home for the first time since winning the Grade 3 Carry Back on July 10. Sing Me Back Home, another former local favorite, also returns after having modest success this year in New York and New Jersey.

Elmer Heubeck: Spatz has tough duo

Trainer Ron Spatz appears to hold the upper hand in the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap with the uncoupled pair of Redoubled Miss and Alix M.

comes in off a hard-fought half-length victory in the Shocker T. Handicap, while Alix M. is a lightly raced but promising filly who has captured 4 of 6 career starts. She will get tested for class in the Heubeck.

Hopelessly Devoted, who defeated 3-year-olds in her turf debut in the Calder Oaks, and Dakota Light may give the Spatz pair their sternest challenges.