Ben’s Cat aims for fifth graded win in Parx Dash
Ben’s Cat wins the Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Having raced three times in less than five weeks to open his 10-year-old campaign, multimillionaire Maryland-bred gelding Ben’s Cat is set to make his 57th career start in Saturday’s Parx Dash Handicap (G3).
Based at Laurel Park with legendary Hall of Fame breeder, owner and trainer King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat is coming off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Stakes June 4 at Penn National.
Prior to that, the multiple graded stakes winner won an open 5 ½-furlong turf allowance May 1 at Laurel and came back with a thrilling victory in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
“To get three winning races in five weeks is what the Triple Crown is about. He had two wins and he was coming back within five weeks of the two wins, trying for a third one, and he couldn’t do it. That’s why the Triple Crown is so hard to win,” Leatherbury said. “Now he’s snapped back and hopefully he’ll come back to one of his real good races, which he’ll need to win this one I think.”
Ben’s Cat drew post 4 at co-highweight of 124 pounds in a field of 10 that includes multiple graded stakes winner Pure Sensation, Grade 2 winner Rocket Heat, Grade 3 winner Power Alert and multiple stakes winner Bold Thunder. None of those contenders are older than 6.
Ben’s Cat is 9-2 on the morning line, with Power Alert, most recently third in the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint on Kentucky Oaks day, the tepid 3-1 favorite. The Alan Goldberg-trained entry of Pool Winner and Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup winner Take Cover is 4-1.
Over his career, Ben’s Cat has accumulated 32 victories, 26 of them in stakes, and purse earnings of $2,607,782, running in nine career graded stakes with four wins, one second and one third. Sixth last year, he won the Parx Dash in 2013 and 2014 when it was graded, and again in 2012 before it received graded status.
Ben’s Cat tuned up for his latest assignment with a bullet three-furlong work in 35.60 seconds July 1 at Laurel. His other graded stakes wins came in the Turf Monster Handicap (G3) in 2011 and 2012.
“He’s alive. He’s good and sharp. This is a race that he’s won before. It’s going to come up tough they tell me, but I’ve got to give it a shot,” Leatherbury said. “I feel good about it. I’m sure other trainers are feeling as good about their horses, too. We’ll have to see.”