10/04/2007 12:00AM

Mary Delaney is strong on Poly

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - When Mary Delaney led all the way last spring to win the Grade 2 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, she did so in the face of a pronounced trend that was hindering front-runners.

Since then, Mary Delaney is winless in three starts, and although seemingly off form, her fondness for Polytrack cannot be taken lightly Saturday when she runs in the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. Moreover, John Velazquez has seen fit to take the mount on a filly with 6 wins from 10 starts on synthetic surfaces.

"I expect her to run better Saturday," said Eddie Kenneally, who has sent out Mary Delaney to race just once since mid-June. "She showed us in the spring how much she likes this surface."

Mary Delaney will break from post 9 in a field of 10 fillies and mares entered in the 27th running of the Grade 3 TCA Stakes, the fifth of 10 Saturday races and the first of five stakes. The TCA leads off a pick six with a guaranteed pool of $150,000.

The likely favorite in the TCA is Baroness Thatcher, a Johannesburg filly who, along with Time's Mistress, is one of two 3-year-olds in the field. Baroness Thatcher comes off a nose defeat in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in an effort that earned her a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

Baroness Thatcher, owned by the Zayat Stables, will break from post 1 for jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Patrick Biancone, whose stable could be in for a huge Saturday when he also is represented by the likes of Lady of Venice in the First Lady, Slew's Tiznow in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, and Cosmonaut in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Another top TCA contender is the East Coast invader Wild Gams, whose sire, Forest Wildcat, won the Phoenix Stakes here in 1996. Ben Perkins Sr. trained Forest Wildcat, while his son, Ben Perkins Jr., is the trainer of Wild Gams, an honest closer coming off a solid runner-up finish in the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters last month.

Two horses who have raced primarily on turf lately are giving Polytrack a whirl: Costume Designer, trained by Michael Matz; and Rich Fantasy, trained by Ronny Werner. Both appear capable of upsetting on their best.

The rest of the field for the TCA is Sugar Swirl, Lady Belsara, Bluesbdancing, and Hot Storm.