Direct the Cat looks to double up in Rachel’s Turn

If you’re thinking Direct the Cat is going to repeat her last performance, then Friday’s $75,000 Rachel’s Turn Stakes for two-year-old West Virginia-bred fillies looks to be hers for the taking. If not, then it’s a wide-open contest where several runners offer intrigue and, potentially, value.

The 4 1/2-furlong Rachel’s Turn, the feature on Friday’s eight-race Charles Town program, has attracted a field of nine. Saturday the track will feature the Henry Mercer Memorial for two-year-old state-breds. Post time for both cards is 7:00 p.m., and the Rachel’s Turn is scheduled to go off at 10:02 p.m.

After two solid but unremarkable efforts to start her career – a third and then a second against state-bred fillies – Direct the Cat obliterated the field in her third career start, running up an 11-length win in a sharp 51.50 seconds for 4 ½ furlongs; that was more than a second faster than the earlier division of the race. For that, the daughter of Redirect earned a 73 Beyer speed figure that towers over the rest of the field.

Direct the Cat, bred by the late John McKee and owned and trained by his widow Cyndy, achieved that win on the front end after having sat off the pace in her first two outings. If jockey Reshawn Latchman opts for a front-running strategy Friday, she may have company.

Mama Marge (4-1) is one of those speedy sorts, having led throughout while winning her debut by three lengths. An O’Sullivan Farms homebred, the Golden Years filly will be ridden by Juan Mauricio Nunez as she bids for her second straight win and leaves from the rail.

Contreras will saddle two Friday, and you have to be intrigued as well by Seven Natty Patty (9-2). A $120,000 auction purchase, Seven Natty Patty, a daughter of Mo Town bred by Maurice Casey, made her first three starts in New York, two at Saratoga. She finished fourth in her first two outings before a seventh-place finish after being soundly bumped at the start in a turf sprint. Angel Cruz is named to ride; it’s his only mount on the card.

Leading trainer Anthony Farrior will be well represented in the Rachel’s Turn; he is slated to send out five of the nine entered.

The Farrior group is led by Ilikefunsize (5-1), the amusingly named Ran Out of Trainer (6-1), and Kristinachrysalis (8-1). All three are cross-entered in Saturday’s Mercer Memorial. Ilikefunsize won easily last out over the strip in her third career start after having previously run second at Belmont Park. Arnaldo Bocachica will ride.

Ran Out of Trainer won by a half-dozen lengths on debut and then was fourth in the Virginia-restricted Keswick Stakes at Colonial Downs and will have Marshall Mendez is up. And Kristinachrysalis won at second asking at Pimlico back in May but has only started once since, a never-involved outing in an allowance at Laurel. Carlos Carrasco is named.

The Jeff Runco-trained Navy Band (8-1) has been 6-5 or less in all three of her starts but has finished behind Mama Marge once and Direct the Cat twice before her breakthrough victory last out. Carlos Lopez is up.


  1. #2 Seven Natty Patty (9-2): New York tries not bad, adds Lasix, presence of Cruz for just the single mount intrigues
  2. #3 Ilikefunsize (5-1): Solid debut vs. Belmont maidens; won last like a 3-10 shot should
  3. #8 Direct the Cat (3-1): Repeat of last makes her a winner but want to see it again before taking favoritism
  4. #7 Kristinachrysalis (8-1): Lasix on, and natural progression from May win makes her competitive; inclined to draw a line through last versus boys