12/30/2006 12:00AM

Steel the Glory goes for hot barn


MIAMI - More than seven straight months of live racing, and Calder is down to its last day. With nearby Gulfstream Park opening on Wednesday, a 12-race Tuesday card brings down the curtain on Calder, with a $45,000 turf sprint called the Lola Bella serving as the final feature.

An extremely well-matched field of 10 is pitted in the five-furlong Lola Bella, and any of a handful could go favored. Perhaps Steel the Glory, who scratched as the obvious pacesetter from the longer Pete Axthelm on Saturday, might take the most play, but there are at least several rivals who appear capable of seriously challenging.

A victory by Steel the Glory would cap what has been an incredible Tropical-at-Calder meet - which started Oct. 16, the day after the regular Calder meet ended - for the Kirk Ziadie stable, which entered the final few days of racing with 22 wins from just 43 starts. Steel the Glory has been partly responsible for that mark, having captured his lone race at Tropical-at-Calder while earning a lifetime-high Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

One of several in this race with exceptional speed, Steel the Glory will be ridden by Jermaine Bridgmohan when he breaks from post 6.

Among the other logical contenders in the 10th of 12 closing-day races are Mighty Beau, Wild Rex, Lord Robyn, and Procreate.

Mighty Beau is the top earner in the group, having banked nearly $560,000, and although his form went sour for much of this year, he seems to have rebounded in his last race, when he won an allowance sprint over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course.

Wild Rex reeled off four straight victories to start his career before losing his last two outings. Trained by Mike Pino, the 4-year-old Wild Rex is another with sensational early foot, and surely his best effort will have him on or near the front for much of the journey.

Lord Robyn figures as a dangerous closer, having raced primarily in two-turn grass races throughout his career. With his 6-for-13 career mark over the Calder turf, Lord Robyn clearly has an affinity for the surface, so the main question is whether he can close sufficiently to make an impression.

Procreate finished second to Mighty Beau in the Dec. 9 Tampa allowance and has made more than $375,000 in just this sort of spot.

Rounding out the field are Gin Rummy Champ, Nacascolo, Blue Pepsi Lodge, British Attitude, and Prince Alphie.