04/10/2007 11:00PM

Mary Delaney wires Madison


LEXINGTON, Ky. - When Mary Delaney led all the way to win an entry-level allowance race last fall on the new Polytrack surface at Keeneland, she did so despite a pronounced trend that favored come-from-behinders.

It's still early in the Keeneland spring meet, but the Polytrack has tended to favor stalkers and closers during the first three programs - and Mary Delaney, a 4-year-old Hennessy filly trained by Eddie Kenneally, still doesn't care. Sent straight to the front by Edgar Prado, Mary Delaney won the Grade 2, $200,000 Madison Stakes in dominating fashion Wednesday, finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Ginger Punch in a field of 10 fillies and mares.

"She absolutely loves the Polytrack, she really does," said Eddie Kenneally, who trains Mary Delaney for Fergus Galvin.

On a raw and wet spring afternoon that limited ontrack attendance to 6,470, Mary Delaney won for the sixth time in eight tries on Polytrack, including two races in England before she was returned to the United States. The Kentucky-bred filly returned $7.80 as the slight favorite after finishing seven furlongs in 1:22.24.

Leah's Secret, winner of the Grade 2 Raven Run here last fall, rallied to finish third, while Bright Abundance came from far back to finish fourth.

Zanjero could spring upset

Beyond Street Sense and Great Hunter, the two obvious favorites in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes, five lesser lights are hoping to advance their causes down the Kentucky Derby trail. Perhaps the Blue Grass longshot with the best chance to do so is Zanjero, a stretch-running colt listed as the 8-1 third choice.

Zanjero, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, took quite a while to learn his lessons but has progressed steadily in recent months, said Scott Blasi, the Steve Asmussen assistant who has been with the Cherokee Run colt throughout his seven-race career.

"He's matured a lot since November," when he won an allowance race at Churchill Downs, said Blasi. "You could tell he was going to come along, but it was going to take some time."

Zanjero has raced wide in several of his previous races but drew the rail for the Blue Grass. "He's had such bad trips in the past, but he actually has a chance to save some ground this time," said Blasi.

Zanjero will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who rode Sinister Minister to a front-running 12 3/4-length victory last year in the Blue Grass.

Love Dubai goes on one week's rest

Love Dubai, who figures to be the longest shot in the Blue Grass field, wheels back just one week after finishing ninth and last, beaten 32 lengths, in the Illinois Derby last Saturday at Hawthorne.

Love Dubai won three races last winter over Polytrack at Wolverhampton in England, after which Ron Peltz of Equirace.com purchased the E Dubai colt in a private transaction.

"We wanted to run him in the Lane's End, but we couldn't get him here in time," said Peltz. "The Illinois Derby was a prep for this, hopefully."

Last year, Equirace.com and trainer Mike Maker pulled off the biggest upset in Lane's End history when With a City prevailed at 48-1.

Midnight Lute heads Commonwealth

Midnight Lute, who romped to victory here last fall in the Grade 3 Perryville Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert, is one of 12 horses entered in a highly competitive 21st running of the $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes, which directly precedes the Blue Grass as the eighth of 10 Saturday races.

Midnight Lute, with Edgar Prado to ride, will start from post 7 in the Grade 2 Commonwealth, which lines up this way from the rail: Buddy Got Even, River City Rebel, Straight Line, Steel Light, Ramsgate, Ryan's for Real, Midnight Lute, Silent Name, Deep Canyon, Gin and Sin, Lewis Michael, and High Finance.

Few want to take on Wait a While

Only five fillies and mares have turned up to challenge Wait a While in a third graded stakes on the Saturday card, the $200,000 Jenny Wiley. Wait a While, trained by Todd Pletcher, has won 5 of 6 career starts on grass, most recently taking the Honey Fox Handicap at Gulfstream to open her 4-year-old season. Gomez has the mount in the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley.

From the hedge, this is the field for the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley, which is carded as the sixth of 10 Saturday races: Fantastic Shirl, Wait a While, Precious Kitten, My Typhoon, Mauralakana, and Essential Edge.

Perfect Drift back as an 8-year-old

Perfect Drift, the ageless gelding who has earned more than $4.66 million in a racing career dating to the fall of 2001, will embark on his 8-year-old campaign in the fourth race Saturday, a $66,000 classified allowance at a mile on the turf. Gomez will ride him.

Trainer Murray Johnson has made an annual tradition of bringing Perfect Drift back in April at Keeneland after a winter vacation at Stonecrest Farm in Kansas City, Mo.

Flint to train several for Englander

It didn't take Steve Flint long to start reloading. Flint has begun training a string of several horses for owner Richard Englander, who once had a huge stable but now is in the process of rebuilding.

"Mr. Englander said to start looking for horses to claim or buy, and that's what I'm doing," said Flint.

Flint's first starter for Englander will be International Cat, in the fifth race Friday at Keeneland.

Flint had trained for Bert, Elaine, and Richard Klein since September 2001 before the family redistributed their 17-horse stable last week to several other trainers, primarily Steve Margolis.