06/12/2007 11:00PM

Kenneally finds reasons to travel


ELMONT, N.Y. - While many of this weekend's biggest races will be run at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky-based trainer Eddie Kenneally has sent two of his biggest guns to New York for Belmont Park's two graded events.

Bushfire, who won two Grade 1 races here last summer, is set to make her second start of the year in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, while Polytrack wonder Mary Delaney will run in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap at seven furlongs.

In 2006, Bushfire emerged as the mid-year leader of the 3-year-old filly division with wins at Belmont in the Acorn and Mother Goose. She faltered in the second half of the year, finishing fifth in the Gazelle and 11th in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

After a lengthy layoff, Bushfire returned in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on Derby Day at Churchill, where she finished sixth of 10 in the seven-furlong race.

"We were just running her there because mainly it was her first race of the year and we wanted to get her back to the races,'' Kenneally said. "[Edgar] Prado rode her and he thought she got a little tired. We think she'll move forward from it.''

Kenneally said he chose to run Bushfire in the Phipps rather than Churchill's Fleur de Lis because the Phipps is run as a one-turn race.

Bushfire has worked four times since the Humana Distaff, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.40 over Keeneland's Polytrack last Saturday.

Bushfire will take on a field that is expected to include last year's Phipps winner, Take D' Tour, as well as Teammate and Ginger Punch. Promenade Girl and It's True Love are possible.

What can Mary Delaney do on dirt?

In Sunday's Vagrancy, Kenneally will be on a fact-finding mission of sorts as he returns Mary Delaney to conventional dirt in the Vagrancy.

A 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy, Mary Delaney has recorded all six of her career victories over synthetic surfaces, including a Grade 2 score in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 11.

In her only start on conventional dirt, Mary Delaney finished eighth of nine in the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs last November. Mary Delaney ran in that one-mile race just two weeks after she won a first-level allowance at Keeneland.

"The distance was not suitable, but mainly the timing was not ideal,'' Kenneally said about Mary Delaney's race in the Chilukki.

Her victory in the Madison capped a four-race winning streak, all accomplished in six- and seven-furlong races over synthetic surfaces. That streak came to an end in the Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine, where she got used in a speed duel and was beaten four lengths by Strike Softly, who came back to win the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes on turf.

Kenneally decided to run in this race rather than Saturday's richer Chicago BC Handicap over Arlington's synthetic surface to see how she handles the conventional dirt.

"The timing of this race is very good; the distance is ideal,'' Kenneally said. "We want to try her back on dirt and see what races we should point her to for the rest of the year. So in a sense, it is a fact-finding mission.''

Others pointing to the Vagrancy are Any Limit, Indian Flare, Nothing But Fun, Oprah Winney, and Wildcat Bettie B.

Cotton Blossom to Delaware Oaks

Cotton Blossom, one-length winner of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on Saturday, will make her next start in the $500,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park on July 14, her connections announced on Wednesday.

Following Cotton Blossom's Acorn victory, trainer Todd Pletcher had mentioned her as a possibility for the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 30. But Cot Campbell, president of the Dogwood Stable syndicate that owns the filly, said he believes the additional two weeks would be beneficial.

"Our filly danced four big dances in what is considered a relatively short period of time nowadays, and could use the five weeks between the Acorn and the Delaware Oaks,'' Campbell said in a press release issued by Dogwood on Wednesday.

Prior to her Acorn score, Cotton Blossom won the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs on March 17, finished second in the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park on April 6, and was a troubled ninth in the Kentucky Oaks on May 4.

Sanders opens New York string

Though her Grade 2 Woody Stephens winner Teuflesberg shipped back to Kentucky, trainer Jamie Sanders has 10 horses stabled at Belmont Park. Two of those 10, Furlong Baby and Alpha Tammy, finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in a 2-year-old maiden race on Wednesday.

Sanders entered Cape of Storms, another 2-year-old, for Friday and plans to run another 2-year-old on Saturday.

"We shipped some 2-year-olds there because I'm trying to get some maidens broken before Saratoga,'' Sanders said. "Obviously, we think they're top quality.''

Cape of Storms, a New York-bred son of Cape Town, finished third in his debut before running seventh in the Grade 3 Kentucky BC.

Meanwhile, Sanders said Teuflesberg came out of the Woody Stephens "absolutely great.'' She said Teuflesberg's major objective for the summer will be the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 25. Sanders mentioned several options for Teuflesberg's next start, including the Dwyer here on July 4, the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29, and the Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 5.

"I've been telling everybody he doesn't need the lead,'' Sanders said. "I think I finally made a believer out of them.''

Certifiably Crazy retired

Certifiably Crazy, the two-time New York-bred male turf champion, has been retired due to a recurring problem with the stifle in his right foreleg, trainer Rick Schosberg said Wednesday.

A 7-year-old gelded son of Fit to Fight, Certifiably Crazy posted a record of 8 wins, 12 seconds, and 3 thirds from 30 career starts. He debuted in August 2003, winning a $12,500 maiden claiming event at Calder by 8 3/4 lengths.

Later that year, he finished second in the Grade 3 Calder Derby, one of three graded events in which Certifiably Crazy finished second. He was beaten a nose in the 2004 Red Smith at Aqueduct and a head in the 2005 Knickerbocker Handicap.

In 2006, Certifiably Crazy won three restricted stakes, including the West Point at Saratoga and the Mohawk at Belmont. Certifiably Crazy was entered for the Kingston here last month but scratched due to the stifle issue.

"We found instability in that stifle joint and concluded it looks like a torn ligament that would take quite a long time to heal,'' Schosberg said. "We decided he had done more than enough and it was time to call it a career.''

Schosberg, who trained Certifiably Crazy for Joseph Sweedler's Double S Stable, said Certifiably Crazy would be retired to the Wallkill facility of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in upstate New York.