04/05/2005 11:00PM

Big Beyer makes 'King' top choice


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Courageous King, who earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure capturing a first-level allowance race earlier in the meet, will be favored to defeat five other midpriced optional claiming and allowance runners in Friday's $35,000 feature at Gulfstream Park.

is one of two members of the field who are not on the selling block, along with Ballistic Missile. Western Man, Our Wildcat, Wacky for Love, and Maybry's Boy will all compete under $62,500 tags.

Courageous King withstood an early speed duel and a bumping incident on the turn before drawing off to a 10-length victory in his return from a seven-month layoff here Jan. 15. The triple-digit Beyer that he earned for that victory, his second, was far and away the best of his career, and came in his seventh start.

Trainer Wesley Ward gave Courageous King, a son of Elusive Quality, five weeks off to recuperate from his big performance, bringing him back in a second-level allowance dash on Feb. 26. The 2-1 favorite, Courageous King was hung wide after breaking from post 10 and gradually weakened, finishing 5 1/2 lengths behind the promising Kelly's Landing.

Ward will remove the blinkers from Courageous King for Friday's start and has given Jose Velez Jr. the call.

Courageous King should receive his stiffest challenges from Maybry's Boy and the once stakes-caliber Wacky for Love.

has not started since finishing seventh in Belmont Park's Elusive Quality Stakes on turf on Oct. 6. The 6-year-old son of Broad Brush won just 1 of 10 starts last year. His victory came against a strong field of fourth-level optional claiming rivals at Delaware Park.

Maybry's Boy's trainer, George Weaver, has been on fire during the second half of the meeting after getting off to a slow start. He has tabbed Eibar Coa for the mount.

Wacky for Love, third in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap here last winter, remains winless since 2003 and returns from Tampa, where he finished a tiring fifth in an allowance on March 18. Trained by Keith Sirota, Wacky for Love chased much better earlier this season when third behind Primary Suspect and sixth behind the red-hot Toscani in third-level allowance races in his first two starts this year.

Our Wildcat drops out of allowance company and may prove the one to catch in just his second start since Nov. 12.

Western Man steps well up in class after earning a career-high 95 Beyer Speed Figure when he beat up on $18,000 claimers three weeks ago.