CT: Powered by Love favored in Mercer Memorial

Direct the Cat went straight to the head of the class of West Virginia-bred two-year-old fillies when winning last week’s Rachel’s Turn Stakes by nearly seven lengths. Now, a week delayed after Charles Town truncated its September 23 card because of the weather, the boys will take center stage in the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes.

The Mercer is race seven on the Friday card with an estimated post time of 10:02 p.m.

The lukewarm favorite is the Tim Grams-trained Powered by Love (5-2), a nine-length winner July 21 in his second career start. The Midshipman gelding, a homebred for Grams and his wife Judy, is the first foal to race out of the unraced Not for Love mare Game of Love.

That big effort on second asking certainly turned some heads, but one runner he’ll have to contend with in this spot is Jubawithatwist (4-1). Jubawithatwist, trained by Kristy Petty for her own KP Racing Stables, easily bested Powered by Love first time out and has since been stakes-placed twice, in the Hickory Tree at Colonial Downs and in the Timonium Juvenile.

King Kontie impressed at first asking on the turf at Colonial, opening up an eight-length lead by the eighth pole and coasting home nearly six clear. Since, he ran third in the Hickory Tree, less than a length behind Jubawithatwist, and then was run off his feet when finishing ninth in the Rosie’s Stakes back on the turf. No shame in that latter result, though: winner No Nay Mets has made short work of all his Stateside competition.

King Kontie, trained by Ollie Figgins for Ray Pennington, is 7-2 on the morning line.

Others of note:

  • Trainer Anthony Farrior will send out a pair of fillies in Rachel’s Turn runner-up Ran Out of Trainer (9-2) and Kristinachrysalis (10-1), who won at Pimlico at second asking over next out winner Kellan back in May.
  • Two Bronze Stars (6-1), third in a six-furlong maiden race at Colonial last out, is out of the Even the Score mare Mountaineer Cat, a five-time winner going 4 ½ furlongs at CT; and
  • Grandy (12-1) won a long battle to graduate at first asking in a race that’s produced two next out winners.