The irrepressible Ben's Cat came from off the pace with a big rush on the outside to register his third consecutive win in the $200,000 Parx Dash Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at the Pennsylvania track July 12 (VIDEO).
The 8-year-old gelding had five to beat in the final furlong but got the job done under right-handed urging from regular rider Julian Pimentel, getting up by a nose over hard-knocking rival Tightend Touchdown. With the win, the Maryland-bred son of Parker's Storm Cat soared past the $2 million mark in career earnings for trainer King Leatherbury's The Jim Stable.
In a thrilling finish, Marchman also closed sharply to finish third, another nose behind Tightend Touchdown. The familiar threesome all went off at separate odds of 5-2, with two-time Pennsylvania Governor's Cup winner Tightend Touchdown the slight choice in the nine-horse field.
Ben's Cat was timed in :56.62 for five furlongs on a well-worn and firm turf course at Parx Racing, off the track mark of :54.96 he established in winning the 2012 Parx Dash renewal.
He earned his 27th lifetime win from 41 races and his 22nd stakes win overall while boosting his career earnings to $2,105,990. Ben's Cat rebounded from a much-troubled fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Jaipur Stakes (gr. III) on the inner turf course June 7 at Belmont Park.
The fourth running of the Parx Dash found Ben's Cat in the winner's circle afterward for the third straight time after he finished second in the inaugural race in 2011. The dark bay now has five victories in seven races at Parx.
Breaking from the outside with only Marchman to his outside, Ben's Cat was away alertly before dropping back to near the rear of the pack as several others vied for the early lead. Tightend Touchdown had a narrow lead after the first quarter was run in :22.15 before falling back a bit, with Sharp Sensation, This Ain't No Bull, and Mongolian Saturday all prominent as well. Rounding the turn, Sharp Sensation had a slight advantage over Bold Thunder but those two switched positions in the stretch as Marchman, Tightend Touchdown, and Ben's Cat wound up for their stretch bids.
Bold Thunder reached the furlong mark in :44.52 in front by a head, but could not hold on as Tightend Touchdown, rallying between horses for Kendrick Carmouche, and Marchman, ridden on the outside by Robby Albarado, charged for home. Ben's Cat, however, was finishing best of all while drifting out a bit late to claim the victory.
K.T. Leatherbury Associates bred Ben's Cat out of the Thirty Eight Paces mare Twofox.
Third choice Ben's Cat carried 122 pounds and paid $7.40, $4.40, and $2.80. Tightend Touchdown, top-weighted at 123, returned $3.60 and $2.60, completing a $28.80 exacta. Marchman, toting 121, paid $2.40 to show.
Bold Thunder came fourth, followed by Sharp Sensation, Stormofthecentury, Mongolian Saturday, This Ain't No Bull, and Atlantic Seaboard. The mare Quality Lass was scratched.