02/07/2005 1:00AM

Confirmed has a lot in his favor

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After winning his maiden in July, it took Confirmed two starts to capture his entry-level allowance condition and two more to win a second-level allowance race. If that pattern continues, Confirmed will win Wednesday's $37,000 feature at Gulfstream, which will be decided under third-level optional claiming conditions.

is coming off a second-place finish behind the odds-on Eddington in his first start in the condition here Jan. 16. The outing was the first for Confirmed since he closed his 2004 campaign with a 2 3/4-length victory at Churchill Downs eight weeks earlier.

A son of Unbridled's Song, Confirmed has been second in five of his seven tries at 1 1/8 miles, the distance of Wednesday's main event, but has one victory at the distance and should get a good trip behind the likely pace of the speedy Granite Head.

Javier Castellano has the mount for trainer Nick Zito.

Cherokee Rap's form nearly mirrors that of Confirmed. He, too, won his maiden midway through his 3-year-old season in New York, won his second start under both entry- and second-level allowance conditions, and finished his 3-year-old campaign on a winning note when posting a neck decision at a mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 27.

Unlike Confirmed, however, has yet to run in this category or make a start beyond 1 1/16 miles, which may hurt him against some of the more seasoned two-turn rivals in the lineup.

Former graded-stakes winner Free of Love takes a sharp drop in class for his return to the main track. A 7-year-old, Free of Love has earned more than $550,000 in his career but comes off a poor showing when trying grass for only the second time earlier in the meet.

won just once in eight starts a year ago but held his own on several occasions against higher-priced optional claiming opponents.

Another horse dropping in class is Whos Crying Now, who is winless since defeating a strong field of allowance runners here one year ago, including Supah Blitz. Whos Crying Now has not started since finishing sixth in Calder's Best of the Rest Stakes on July 18.