06/21/2005 11:00PM

Allard thinking Virginia for Touched by Madness

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Bill Denver/ EQUI-PHOTOS
Touched by Madness has options.

Ned Allard, like several trainers with 3-year-old grass horses, has been weighing his options for Saturday.

He has two $500,000 stakes choices on the same afternoon: the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware Park and the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs in Virginia.

Allard cross-entered the front-running Jersey Derby winner, Touched by Madness, in both, and on Wednesday he said he was leaning toward the Colonial Turf Cup.

Allard said he had not finalized plans with the owner of Touched by Madness, Gilbert G. Campbell, "but it's kind of a crap shoot as far as which way to go. I'm leaning a little bit towards Virginia."

Allard cited past success as a motivating factor.

"I've had a lot of good luck shipping from Philadelphia Park to Colonial ever since they've been open," he said. "Horses seem to ship well from here to there, not that they don't to Delaware."

Allard's major concern in the Colonial race is the distance. The 1 3/16-mile Turf Cup is a sixteenth of a mile longer than the Kent. Touched by Madness has never run beyond 1 1/16 miles.

"I'm not so sure my horse is going to go that far," Allard said.

Allard is pleased with the way Touched by Madness is coming up to the race.

"He showed vast improvement on the turf in the Jersey Derby," Allard said. "How far he'll carry it, time will tell. He's going into the race super and he's sharp as a tack."

Touched by Madness would face English Channel in the Colonial Turf Cup. That colt, trained by Todd Pletcher, was not cross-entered in the Kent.

English Channel has won 3 of 4 starts, all on the turf, including the Woodlawn Stakes on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

There were two defections from the Kent on Tuesday. Letterman's Humor and Killenaule ran first and third, respectively, on Tuesday in Delaware's Floor Show Stakes on the main track. Letterman's Humor has been scratched from the Kent field. Killenaule remains on the program, but the Delaware racing office does not expect him to run back so quickly.

Call My Bluff only "50-50" for Kent

The lure of a $500,000 purse convinced trainer Derek Ryan to enter Call My Bluff in the Kent even though the horse ran fourth Sunday in the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The Kent field remains in flux with six horses cross-entered in the Kent and the Colonial Turf Cup.

"Call me 50-50," Ryan said. Noting the likely absence of both Letterman's Humor and Killenaule and the six cross-entries, he said, "If I knew it was going to be like this, I wouldn't have run last week."

Dowd moves to Adena Springs

John Dowd has closed his barn at Philadelphia Park to take a private training job with Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South farm in Ocala, Fla.

"I'm involved in breaking the 2-year-olds and preparing them to go onto the racetrack," Dowd said.

The opportunity to settle in one spot helped clinch the decision for the trainer, who was second in the Monmouth standings in 1998.

"To be able to spend more time with my family and have a better quality of life," Dowd said as he ticked off the reasons for the change. "Year-round living in one place. No more traveling, no more winters. And a great opportunity to deal with quality horses. The facility, there's none better."

Dowd has always had an eye for a good young horse. He developed Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer for Bobby Hurley, the former Duke basketball star. Developing horses is the direction he now wants to pursue.

"You enjoy the action at the racetrack, but for the past 11, 12 years, I've enjoyed more the process of identifying young horses with talent and seeing if you're right," Dowd said.