Seven-year-old Ben's Cat is showing no signs of slowing down.
Owned by The Jim Stable of trainer King Leatherbury, Ben's Cat won the 21st race of his 31-race career with a solid come-from-behind tally in the $100,000 Jim McKay Sprint Presented by Apple Ford May 17 at Pimlico Race Course (VIDEO). It was the gelding's second win in the five-furlong turf stakes.
"(The late) Jim McKay was a personal friend of mine, so this is a great race to win," said Leatherbury, who bred Ben's Cat. "I don't know why I haven't won it more often."
Dispatched as the slight second choice in a field reduced to six after two early scratches, Ben's Cat rated in fifth under Julian Pimentel as Spring to the Sky was tracked by Bridgetown through an opening quarter-mile in :22.27 and a half-mile in :44.51 on firm turf. Ben's Cat commenced his rally on the far turn, reeled in the leaders and cleared late to win by a length in :56.18, not far off the course record at Pimlico.
New York shipper Spring to the Sky held very well for second, a half-length ahead of Bridgetown, who was sent off as the slight 11-10 favorite over Ben's Cat. Super Chunky, Sneaking Uponyou, and Kens Cape rounded out the order of finish.
Ben's Cat paid $4.20, $2.60, and $2.10, and capped a $25.20 exacta with Spring to the Sky, who returned $6 and $3.40. Bridgetown paid $2.20.
Ben's Cat, a Maryland-bred by Parker's Storm Cat out of the Thirty Eight Paces mare Twofox, won for ninth time in 13 starts at the distance. A 16-time stakes winner, he has now earned $1,462,290.
"He's as good right now as a 7-year-old as he has been," Leatherbury said. "He knows what he has to do."
The next race for Ben's Cat, who won the Mister Diz Stakes at Pimlico in his first start of the year April 6, could come quickly. Leatherbury said he will point the gelding to the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at five furlongs on grass June 1 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, a race in which Ben's Cat finished fourth last year, only three-quarters of a length behind the winner, as the 6-5 favorite.