03/02/2005 12:00AM

Iron Wall consistent claimer


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A much-the-best winner in both his starts at this meet, Iron Wall looms a solid favorite to make it three in a row on Friday when he heads a field of high-priced claimers in Gulfstream Park's feature race.

Nine 3-year-olds are entered in the six-furlong race, in which horses are eligible to be claimed for $75,000 or $65,000.

has shown versatility, winning a $60,000 claiming event while racing on the lead and a $75,000 claimer coming from off the pace. He was visually impressive last out, taking the lead straightening for home and winning under a vigorous hand ride from Edgar Prado. Jerry Bailey, who rode Iron Wall in his Jan. 23 win here, is back aboard Friday.

Iron Wall's trainer, Mike Mitchell, has enjoyed a solid season during his first winter in Florida, posting a record of 6-5-3 from 27 starters.

Three of the horses Iron Wall beat in his last start will challenge him again. Step Right In, who set the pace in that Feb. 11 race, and Northern Concorde, who chased it, are back in. Northern Concorde was making his first start in 4 1/2 months in that race, and figures to move forward off the effort. He shows two solid works at Palm Meadows since then.

set the pace from the outside post, and lost second by three-quarters of a length. He breaks from the rail, and gets a rider switch to Cornelio Velasquez for his second start off a three-month layoff.

and Dazzling Dr. Cevin are intriguing. My Buddy Richie had two terrible trips in allowance company and now drops back in for a claiming price. He has won his last three races for a tag, albeit for cheaper.

On Feb. 5, My Buddy Richie stumbled badly at the start and finished 10th in a field of 12. Andromeda's Hero came out of that race to win the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs last weekend. On Feb. 16, My Buddy Richie was bumped and carried out down the backside and faltered to a sixth-place finish while wide.

Dazzling Dr. Cevin drops in for a tag after running the worst race of his career in an entry-level allowance race on Feb. 5.