08/30/2008 12:00AM

Timonium: P. Kerney looks ready to repeat

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With seven of the eight horses in the $50,000 Taking Risks having never won over the Timonium track, there is some doubt whether they will take to racing on the five-furlong oval. There is no doubt about P. Kerney.

P. Kerney is a bullring-lover who is 2 for 2 at Timonium, and he is in top form as he attempts a defense of his 2007 title in the Taking Risks, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds and up.

Trained by Michael Trombetta, P. Kerney has been sharp in his last three races: an optional claiming victory over the Charles Town bullring, a win in an optional claiming sprint at Philadelphia Park, and a third-place finish after making the lead in midstretch in the Harvey Arneault Memorial at Mountaineer a month ago. Travis Dunkelberger will ride P. Kerney, a 7-year-old who usually runs on or just off the pace.

Five Steps will try to rebound from a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park in this much softer spot. Before that race he won the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter, a 1 1/16-mile race at Delaware. Any doubts about his sprinting ability have been dispelled in optional claiming or allowance victories at Charles Town the last two summers.

Celtic Innis ran third in the Carpenter, but he has run his best races sprinting and comes off a third in the six-furlong Chesapeake at Colonial. Great Seneca, second in the Chesapeake, also is in the Taking Risks.