Stakes winner Cats Inthe Timber to make return

Haymarket Farm’s stakes-winning homebred filly Cats Inthe Timber, unraced since the Delaware Oaks (G3) last summer, will launch her comeback Saturday at Laurel Park.

Trained by Brittany Russell, 4-year-old Cats Inthe Timber will face five rivals in the one-mile optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 4 and up led by 7-5 program favorite Intrepid Daydream, herself racing for the first time in 476 days.

Cats In the Timber is 5-1 on the morning line.

By Honor Code out of the Tale of the Cat mare Wychwood, Cats Inthe Timber went to the sidelines after the Delaware Oaks and returned to the work tab in early December at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. She has had 11 breezes for her comeback, the last four coming at Laurel, most recently a half-mile move in 51.60 seconds Feb. 25.

“She’s been training up to it and it was always the idea for her to come on back and have a good campaign this year,” Haymarket’s Chip Montgomery said. “We’re ready to roll, and a good place to go is on her home field.”

Cats Inthe Timber raced twice at 2, breaking her maiden in October 2022 at Delaware Park. Her first four starts as a 3-year-old came at Laurel, winning a one-mile optional claiming allowance last January and the 1 1/16-mile Weber City Miss two starts later. The Weber City earned her an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico, where she ran sixth in her graded debut.

“Primarily I’m a breeder here in Kentucky. She’s a homebred, and we have her mother and her granddam, too. That’s probably my best family,” Montgomery said. “We have high expectations for her this year. She can go a little bit of distance, we think, and we hope that we can explore that at some point this year.”

Sheldon Russell rides Cats Inthe Timber from Post 2.

Intrepid Dream, bred and owned by Paul Fowler Jr., is an older full sister to multiple stakes winner Intrepid Daydream. Now 6, the Jess’s Dream mare has won four of five career races, and is entered to make her first start since a 6 ½-length optional claiming allowance in November 2022 at Laurel.

Mavilus, 26-1 upset winner of the 2023 Conniver at Laurel, and stakes-placed Doctor Abbie, Warrior’s Ransom and Lady Brew complete the field.