04/13/2006 12:00AM

Kelly's Landing back in big way

Four-Footed Fotos
Kelly's Landing, winning the 2005 Aristides, takes on Sun King and Vicarage in Saturday's Commonwealth.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Just two days into the Keeneland spring meet, trainer Eddie Kenneally hit his career pinnacle when Bushfire captured the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes. One Saturday later, Kenneally will be back gunning for another major score when he sends out Kelly's Landing as one of the major contenders in the Grade 2, $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes.

"Winning the Ashland alone was a fantastic way to start out," said Kenneally. "But if we could win a second prestigious race at Keeneland, that would be icing on the cake, indeed."

With , Kenneally certainly stands a solid chance to enjoy another memorable Saturday. Last summer, Kelly's Landing earned a 112 Beyer Speed Figure when he set the Churchill Downs track record for six furlongs, winning the Aristides in 1:07.59. After recovering from a knee chip suffered in the Vanderbilt at Saratoga in August, Kelly's Landing returned to action last month with a sensational victory in a Gulfstream Park allowance.

"I was ecstatic with the way he came back from the knee surgery," said Kenneally, a 39-year-old Irish native. "He won very impressively at Gulfstream. He ran quickly and without much effort."

Kelly's Landing, bred and owned by Summerplace Farm, is one of 12 older horses in the Commonwealth BC, a seven-furlong race that dates to 1987. With Edgar Prado to ride, Kelly's Landing will break from post 5 in an exceptionally deep field that also includes such standouts as Vicarage (post 1), Sun King (post 2), Kazoo (post 4), and Spanish Chestnut (post 7), who recently scored a two-length victory in a $80,000 optional claimer in his first start since the Kentucky Derby.

, trained by Todd Pletcher, might deserve slight favoritism after winning the Perryville Stakes by 10 lengths here last fall.

also must be respected despite his so-so recent form. A 4-year-old trained by Nick Zito, Sun King won three graded stakes last year and is easily the leading earner in the lineup, with nearly $1.4 million.

New York shipper Kazoo won the Grade 3 Toboggan last out and skipped the Grade 1 Carter last weekend because he "seems to fit better" in the Commonwealth, said trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

Other contenders in the 20th Commonwealth are Mister Fotis (post 12), winner of the Grade 2 Richter Scale BC last month at Gulfstream, and Fifteen Rounds (post 10), a hickory Illinois invader with 13 wins from 22 starts. The Commonwealth directly precedes the Blue Grass Stakes as the eighth of 10 Saturday races and is the third leg of the Premier Pick 4.