02/22/2008 1:00AM

Kelly's Landing training again


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If all had gone according to plan, trainer Eddie Kenneally would be in the final stages of preparing Kelly's Landing for a return trip to Dubai to defend his title in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 29. Unfortunately, Kenneally will have to be content pointing his classy, but fragile, gelding for a 2008 campaign that hopefully will end with a trip to California in late October for his third try at the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"We won't make Dubai, that's for sure," Kenneally said. "He got sick on me and he's missed too much time. I certainly would love to have brought him back there again, but the timing of all this was just bad."

Kenneally said Kelly's Landing is doing fine now and has returned to light training, although he has not breezed since posting a bullet half-mile at Palm Meadows on Dec. 30. Now 7, Kelly's Landing has not started since finishing fifth behind champion Midnight Lute in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Sprint. The Breeders' Cup was his only start since his half-length victory over Friendly Island seven months earlier in the Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba.

"I'll start planning out a spring-summer campaign for him now," advised Kenneally, who said there is a good possibility Kelly's Landing could return to south Florida in July for Calder's $500,000 Smile Sprint.

Richter Scale field shaping up

Although Kelly's Landing won't make the race, the Grade 2, $150,000 Richter Scale on March 8 figures to come up strong. Trainer Angel Penna Jr. confirmed earlier this week that he is continuing to point Chatain for the seven-furlong Richter Scale, while Nick Zito said he is also strongly considering the race for one-mile track-record holder and Grade 1 winner Commentator. Grand Champion, winner of the 2007 Fall Highweight, is also expected to compete in the Richter Scale.

Dream Rush drills for comeback

Another sprinter of note, the multiple Grade 1 winner Dream Rush, continues to progress toward her 2008 debut. Dream Rush, a finalist for an Eclipse Award in the filly and mare sprint division in 2007, worked four furlongs in 48.60 seconds at Palm Meadows on Friday.

"She just went easily this morning because the track had a little moisture in it," trainer Rick Violette said. "She's in a good spot fitness-wise and scary good right now, although I'm in no hurry with her. The good thing is that she has shown no evidence of the the lung issues we had to deal with last year."

Dream Rush won the Grade 1 Prioress and Test stakes at 3 but has not started since finishing fifth after leading into the stretch of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

"Right now, the Shirley Jones is my goal, although there is a slight chance she could run in the Distaff Handicap, which is the same day," said Violette whose first major goal this spring is the Grade 1 Humana Distaff in May.

The seven-furlong, Grade 2 Shirley Jones will be run here March 22.

Saratoga Russell eyes Gotham

Violette also reported that the one-mile Gotham at Aqueduct will probably be the next option for his up-and-coming 3-year-old Saratoga Russell, who demolished a field of first-level allowance rivals here earlier in the meet. Saratoga Russell worked a half-mile in 48.40 at Palm Meadows on Thursday.

"He went great yesterday," Violette said. "It was just a little maintenance move. I don't want to stretch him all the way to a mile and one-eighth for his next start, so I'll have to look out of town. We're taking a look at all the options, including the Tampa Bay Derby and I'll keep him down here as long as I can, although we'll probably end up in the Gotham."

The 1 1/16-mile Gotham at Aqueduct will be run on March 8.

The Gotham also is among the possible options for Visionaire, who worked a half-mile in 48.80 for trainer Michael Matz at Palm Meadows on Friday. Visionaire, third behind Pyro in the Risen Star, also is under consideration for the Louisiana Derby and Rebel Stakes.

Backseat Rhythm third in return

Trainer Pat Reynolds was disappointed but pleased with Backseat Rhythm's third-place finish in Friday's seventh race, her first start since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Backseat Rhythm was forced to race wide and encountered a little traffic problems before finishing willingly behind highly regarded turf fillies Life Is Sweet and Alwajeeha.

"That's horse racing," Reynolds said. "She got in a little trouble, and those are a couple of potentially high-class fillies who beat her."

"I'll probably look for a first-level allowance race back on the dirt for her next start," said Reynolds who is eyeing the Grade 1 Ashland for Backseat Rhythm later this spring.

Daaher breezes half-mile

Daaher breezed a half-mile in 48.20 at Palm Meadows on Friday, just his second work since finishing a disappointing seventh as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap earlier this month. Daaher is among the 10 horses nominated for the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 1, a race that is among several options trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is considering for the Grade 1 winner's next start.