05/10/2007 11:00PM

Old gang's reunion in Kingston


ELMONT, N.Y. - Some things you can always count on, like the triumvirate of Certifiably Crazy, Dave, and Golden Commander knocking heads in New York-bred turf stakes. Another senior tour kicks off Mother's Day with the $100,000 Kingston Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on Belmont Park's inner grass course, to be followed later in the season by the West Point, A.T. Cole, and the Mohawk.

The three amigos ran in all four races last year, and moonlighted in open company with good performances against multiple stakes winners Ashkal Way and Revved Up.

Golden Commander was 5 when he won the 2005 Kingston in then-record time of 1:45.35, with a Beyer Speed Figure of 105; his effectiveness was limited last year by a foot injury, but he has returned to form for trainer Phil Serpe. Dave won last year's running at age 6 in his second start for Barclay Tagg, earning a career top figure of 100.

Certifiably Crazy annually returns from sabbatical in the Kingston, and past performances suggest he will be a race or two away from his best form in his 7-year-old bow. Two years ago, he was fourth behind Golden Commander; last year he was sixth behind Dave. Evidently, getting beat in the Kingston merely serves to get Certifiably Crazy mad, because he invariably exacts revenge. He was champion New York-bred grass horse in 2005, and is expected to become a two-time winner when the 2006 awards are announced Monday.

"He's got a target on his back, but he hasn't let us down yet," said trainer Rick Schosberg. "He's trained super, and he came up in really good order from Ocala. Am I expecting to see his absolute best? Probably not, but he's as ready as he can be."

While Certifiably Crazy and Dave come off layoffs, Golden Commander has the benefit of recent activity - allowance races at Gulfstream against English Channel and Remarkable News, followed by a tough-trip second in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy, in which he lacked room in upper stretch and ran out of ground.

"It's been great having him back," said Serpe. "After a while, horses like him become fixtures in your barn. Between injuries and retirement, most good horses aren't around for a long time these days. It's good to see a horse like Golden Commander hang around and race the way he does."