Julian Pimentel aboard Ben's Cat after the 2013 Fabulous Strike. Photo by B & D Photography.

Julian Pimentel aboard Ben’s Cat after the 2013 Fabulous Strike. Photo by B & D Photography.

From a Penn National Gaming Inc. release

Thanksgiving eve will be a big night at Penn National.

The night includes three stakes races, topped by the fourth running of the $200,000 Fabulous Strike.

The Fabulous Strike, for horses three-years-old and upward at a distance of six furlongs, may be run for the fourth time, but it is still seeking the second different winner in its history. After narrow victories in the first two editionsof the Fabulous Strike, the remarkable Ben’s Cat let his faithful breathe a little easier last year when he marched home by 3 1/4 lengths to score the hat trick and win the race for a third consecutive year. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat is expected back at Penn National as he tries to add a fourth Fabulous Strike to his already lengthy resume. Incredibly enough, another win in the Fabulous Strike would make it the third stake the now nine-year-old has won four or more times in his decorated career.


A win in the Fabulous Strike for the nine-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat would be his third of the season.  It has been — not unexpectedly, given his age — the least productive of Ben’s Cat’s six racing seasons thus far, with just two wins and $169,000 in earnings.  He has never won fewer than four times in a previous season and never earned less than $211,980.

With 45 nominees to the race, Ben’s Cat doesn’t have a shortage of potential challengers, with the two of the top five finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint among the Fabulous Strike’s possible starters. Pennsylvania-bred Favorite Tale would be returning to his home state after checking in third in the Sprint, beaten less than two lengths by Runhappy, while fifth place finisher Salutos Amigos is nominated for trainer David Jacobson. Jacobson also has Stallwalkin’ Dude nominated, but the latter is unlikely after running fourth in the past weekend’s DeFrancis Dash at Laurel.

Other stakes on the card are the $100,000 Swatara, where the nominations are led by multiple graded stakes placed Mylute, and the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies for Pennsylvania-breds, which includes the very impressive first out winner Behrnik’s Bank.

Post time for the first race at Penn National on Wednesday is 6:00 P.M. EST with the Fabulous Strike tentatively slated as the fourth race with a post time of 7:24 P.M. EST.