10/18/2002 12:00AM

Cat Cay has the look of a solid favorite


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Cat Cay was somewhat overlooked last fall before she scored a 7 1/2-length victory in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, but this time the horseshoe may be on another foot.

Cat Cay, a 5-year-old mare trained by Shug McGaughey, likely will be the favorite Sunday in a field of 11 fillies and mares entered in the 22nd running of the Grade 3, $125,000 TCA Stakes. Not only did she win the 2001 running of the six-furlong race in a sensational performance, but she has been in solid form since then, having run respectably against the likes of Xtra Heat, Imperial Gesture, Raging Fever, Mandy's Gold, and Gold Mover.

In addition, the ever-popular Pat Day has the mount back on Cat Cay, who was the 3-1 second choice last year, when Miss Seffens was the odds-on favorite.

Several challengers appear capable of pulling the same kind of mild upset that Cat Cay perpetrated last year. Among them is Interest Only, a lightly raced 4-year-old filly trained by Steve Flint. In her last start, Interest Only faded badly in the Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park, but Flint expects a better performance Sunday.

"I guess they've got to throw in a clunker once in a while," he said. "We're hoping to do well in this, then start thinking about Florida in the winter. She's got the kind of speed that could make her real tough at Gulfstream."

Other top contenders in the TCA include La Galerie, a speedy 6-year-old trained by John Kimmel, and Don't Countess Out, the Weekend Delight winner.

Four allowance races also are carded Sunday, when first post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

Stakes possible for My Boston Gal

The winning margin was only 2 3/4 lengths, but the victory by My Boston Gal in the second race Thursday could have been much more.

Calvin Borel, who rode My Boston Gal, took 11 peeks - count 'em, 11 - behind him as he rode the 2-year-old filly down the stretch. It was the first career start for My Boston Gal, a Boston Harbor filly trained by Carl Nafzger.

Ian Wilkes, Nafzger's longtime assistant, said afterward that My Boston Gal could run back in an entry-level allowance race at Churchill Downs, although neither of the two stakes at the meet for 2-year-old fillies, the Pocahontas or Golden Rod, could be ruled out.

Second generation for Zito

A 3 1/4-length win for Gold N Silver in the third race here Thursday brought back very fond memories for Nick Zito.

Gold N Silver, by Strike the Gold, won the $25,000 maiden-claiming event going away, racing well off the pace and rallying outside two front-runners.

"That was just like his daddy in the Blue Grass," said Zito, recalling the 1991 Blue Grass Stakes win by his former stable star. "A big, sweeping move."

Zito, along with Nafzger and several others, is in contention for what has turned into a hotly contested trainers' race. The Keeneland meet runs through Saturday.

Howdy, cousin: Triple-digit winner

Our Cousin Rex, a first-time starter trained by Avery Faircloth, became the highest-priced winner of the meet when he captured the second race Friday.

Ridden by Valerie Nagle, Our Cousin Rex contested the pace in the seven-furlong maiden race before pulling clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He returned $119.60 to win.

* Samantha Whitehall, an exercise rider who now works for Niall O'Callaghan after previous stints with Dallas Stewart, Al Stall Jr., and others, was scheduled to be married Friday evening in Louisville to horse owner Bob Nettles.