King Leatherbury’s Ben's Cat, who could have been entered in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) via payment of a $100,000 supplemental fee, is the even-money morning-line favorite in the $75,000 Laurel Dash Stakes Oct. 29 at Laurel Park.
The Dash, at six furlongs on turf, drew a field of 12.
Leatherbury, who bred and trains Ben’s Cat, was considering the Breeders’ Cup supplement as he lined up partners to pay the fee, but decided against the Nov. 5 race at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old Parker's Storm Cat gelding is four-for-four on the Laurel grass.
“This will be a whole lot easier race,” Leatherbury said. “We have been beating many of these same runners. I have a concern about how soft the turf course might be.”
Ben’s Cat has won 13 of 18 starts, including eight stakes, with lifetime earnings of $733,230. He had to recover from a broken pelvis before he made his maiden debut at 4, and then began his career with eight consecutive victories.
“He has really been an incredible story,” said Leatherbury, who ranks third on the all-time win list with 6,330 victories as a trainer. “He is very consistent and certainly has exceeded our expectations. I am very proud of him.”
Ben’s Cat has won four of five races on the turf this year: the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico Race Course; the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Hollywood Casino at Penn National; the Turf Monster Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Parx Racing in which he defeated 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) winner Chamberlain Bridge; and a repeat score in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint at Laurel Oct. 1. Jeremy Rose will ride for the sixth consecutive time.