From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Ben's Cat and Mr. Online in the 2013 Laurel Dash.  Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Ben’s Cat and Mr. Online in the 2013 Laurel Dash. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Ben’s Cat, who became the seventh Maryland-bred to reach $2 million in earnings this summer, headlines the nominations to next Saturday’s stakes at Laurel Park. The King Leatherbury homebred will be looking to win the $100,000 Laurel Dash for the third time in four years.

The September 27 card will feature five open stakes races on the turf and the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-bred and/or sired runners.

The Laurel Dash drew 32 nominations. The 1-1/2 mile Laurel Turf Cup features 36 nominations. The Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds has 41 nominees. The Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies attracted 37 pre-entries. The Lady Baltimore Stakes for fillies and mares has 59 nominations. The Jameela garnered 22 nominations.

“The numbers look good but we have to see how many actually hit the entry box on Wednesday,” Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind said. “Not sure how many we will get to run against Ben’s Cat. You just aren’t going to get that many horses to run against him.”

Ben’s Cat earned his 22nd career stakes victory in the Parx Dash (G3) on July 12 to reach the $2 million milestone then finished second, beaten a neck, in the Turf Monster (G3) at Parx on Labor Day despite a troubled trip. The son of Parker’s Storm Cat is three-of-five this year and has 27 wins in 42 career starts for earnings of $2,165,990.

“It has been business as usual,” Leatherbury said. “The only way we get beat now is to get a bad trip, knock on wood.”

Now eight, Ben’s Cat had to recover from a broken pelvis before he made his maiden debut at age four in 2010, then began his career with eight consecutive victories. He has four graded wins and is on pace to earn $500,000 for the fourth consecutive year.

“He is an amazing horse,” added Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,438 victories. “It is crazy that he continues to run as well as he has year after year.”

Ben’s Cat won the 2011 Laurel Dash, a race taken off the turf, was upset by Jazzy Idea two years ago and won last year’s edition at odds of 3-5. Leatherbury worked his star 3-furlongs in 36 seconds this morning at Laurel Park.

Cigar leads all Maryland-breds with $9,999,815 in career earnings. Awad ($3,270,818), Concern ($3,079,350), Broad Brush ($2,656,793), Richard’s Kid ($2,482,259) and Safely Kept ($2,194,206) also rank ahead of Ben’s Cat on the list.