Ben's Cat drew post 2 in the Maryland Million Turf.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Ben's Cat drew post 2 in the Maryland Million Turf.
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Rick Samuels

Ben's Cat Entered for Maryland Million Turf

Noted grass sprinter stretches out to a mile in race in which he was second in 2013.

Ben's Cat will remain on turf as he targets a record fourth win in the 29th Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park Oct. 18.

Owner/trainer King Leatherbury opted for the $125,000 Turf at one mile for 8-year-old Ben's Cat instead of the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint on dirt earlier on the Saturday card. The 29-time winner was pre-entered in both races.

The noted turf sprinter has been more effective at shorter distances over his career but he ran a tough second as the 11-10 favorite in the Maryland Million Turf last year. He missed by a neck after leading in the stretch to Roadhog, who also is entered again.

Ben's Cat drew post 2 for his return to the Maryland Million. He won the Turf Sprint three consecutive years (2010-12) before the race was eliminated from the popular series for Maryland-breds.

Leatherbury initially was leaning to the Sprint Saturday, but changed his mind because he felt the Turf was an easier race.

"He’s (Roadhog) not as good as last year, I don’t think," the 81-year-old conditioner said.

With earnings of $2,175,990 over a 43-race career, Ben's Cat is looking to surpass Hall of Fame runner Safely Kept (Distaff-1989-90-91), Countus In (Ladies-1989-90-91), Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies-1993-94-95), and Docent (Sweepstakes-2001 & Classic-2002-03) as the only four-time Maryland Million winners. Julian Pimentel will once again be aboard Ben's Cat, who will carry 119 pounds in the weight-for-age contest.

Ben's Cat has 17 stakes victories on grass but is coming into the race off a third-place finish in the Laurel Dash three weeks ago.

"The last race was very disappointing to me," Leatherbury said. "A lot of times you run third and you’re happy to get third, but not when you expect to win. Even though he ran a nice race, I was disappointed. It worries me a little bit. Usually he runs better than I think he will."

Roadhog, who also won the Maryland Million Turf in 2012, has a win and three second-place finishes in six starts this year for trainer Lizzie Merryman. The 7-year-old son of Bowman's Band is 10-of-35 lifetime with earnings of $609,114. He drew post 9 with Kendrick Carmouche back aboard.

In addition to Roadhog and Ben’s Cat, the 12-horse field features 2012 runner-up Change of Command and stakes-placed Talk Show Man.

The \Maryland Million attracted 124 entrants to the 11-race program. First post for the $1 million day is 12:15 p.m. EDT. The Maryland Million Turf is the ninth race on the card with a scheduled post time of 5:01 p.m. EDT.

One race later, the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic at 1 1/8 miles features nine entrants including defending champion Eighttofasttocatch, who also won the race in 2011. The 8-year-old is the overwhelming 3-5 morning line favorite.

The gelded son of Not For Love finished off the board in his only start this year but Eighttofasttocatch has nine career stakes victories at Laurel Park. A win in the Classic would vault the Tim Keefe trainee past $1 million in career earnings. He is currently at $914,585.

"He’s coming into the race well," Keefe said. "He’s had a lot of time off, longer than I wanted. He’s been training well.”

Keefe indicated his Laurel-based star would be retired after the Jennings Handicap at Laurel Dec. 6.

"It’s hard when you’ve dictated a horse like this with a starting time and a finishing point and the finishing point is coming up," said Keefe, who has four career Maryland Million wins. "It’s a little bittersweet knowing that this is my favorite race of the year, always look forward to this and knowing that he’s just got one more after that. The saving grace is that he comes back to me."

Seventeenohsix, trained by John Servis, and Excessive Drama, from the Frank Abbott barn, enter the Maryland Million Classic off allowance wins at Parx Racing and Delaware Park, respectively.

Here is a quick look of some of the other races on Saturday’s program.

$100,000 Nursery (1st race): Eight 2-year-olds are entered, including Bullheaded Boy from the powerful Todd Pletcher stable, as well as Golden Years  and Markakis, who both won first time out.

$100,000 Distaff (2nd race): 2012 Lassie winner Classy Coco and 2013 Lassie winner Jonesin for Jerry top a field of eight fillies and mares.

$100,000 Sprint (4th race): Eight sprinters are entered including 2013 General George Handicap (gr. III) winner Javerre.

$125,000 Ladies (5th race): Ten fillies and mares are expected, including defending champion Monster Sleeping and 2012 winner Pagan Priestess.

$100,000 Lassie (8th race): Thirteen 2-year-old fillies are entered, including Selima Stakes winner Miss Bullistic.


Entries: Maryland Million Nursery S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 1

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 2 yo
  • 8:00 PM (local)
11Awol (MD)Jose R. Betancourt120John J. Robb-
22Stonebriar (MD)UNKNOWN115Timothy L. Keefe-
33Markakis (MD)Horacio Karamanos120Robin L. Graham-
44Wolftrap (MD)Xavier Perez115Anthony Aguirre-
55Golden Years (WV)Victor R. Carrasco120Rodney Jenkins-
66Legal Punch (MD)Jose C. Caraballo115Samuel F. Cronk-
77Bullheaded Boy (NY)Trevor McCarthy120Todd A. Pletcher-

Entries: Maryland Million Distaff H.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 2

  • STK
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 8:00 PM (local)
11Inspired Say Eye (MD)Jevian Toledo110Phil Schoenthal-
22Steady N Love (MD)Victor R. Carrasco113Gary Capuano-
33Classy Coco (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateTrevor McCarthy117T. Bernard Houghton-
44Dress Up (MD)Luis A. Batista112Donald H. Barr-
55Coco Punch (MD)Horacio Karamanos113Robin L. Graham-
66Ann's Smart Dancer (PA)Alex Cintron119Philip M. Serpe-
77Bear Moon (NJ)Vince Halliday113Cathy Denelsbeck-
88Jonesin for Jerry (MD)Abel Castellano, Jr.112John J. Robb-

Entries: Maryland Million Sprint H.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 4

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 2:03 PM (local)
11Jack's in the Deck (MD)Horacio Karamanos115Robin L. Graham-
22Avarice (VA)Trevor McCarthy117John J. Robb-
33D C Dancer (MD)Angel Serpa115Michael J. Trombetta-
44Javerre (NJ)J. D. Acosta117Cathal A. Lynch-
55Always Smiling (MD)Alex Cintron116Steven R. Brown-
66Shirakuma (NY)Yomar Orlando Ortiz109Corby Caiazzo-
77Gator Gold (MD)Walter Enrique Llagas111Joseph W. Ayres, Jr.-
88Tujoes (PA)Inoel Beato115Keith W. LeBarron-

Entries: Maryland Million Ladies S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 5

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $125,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:41 PM (local)
11Very Few Details (MD)Joshua Navarro119Dane Kobiskie-
22Mystic Love (MD)Victor R. Carrasco119Timothy L. Keefe-
33Pagan Priestess (VA)Forest Boyce119W. Robert Bailes-
44Devilish Love (PA)Alex Cintron119Anthony W. Dutrow-
55Love That Kelly (NJ)Javier Santiago119Hugh I. McMahon-
66Monster Sleeping (MD)Trevor McCarthy119Dale Capuano-
77Complete St. (VA)Daniel Centeno121Lilith E. Boucher-
88Jerry Love (AR)Keeneland Sales GraduateKendrick Carmouche114Michael J. Trombetta-
99Moral High Ground (MD)Alberto Delgado119Anthony Aguirre-
1010Bear Access (MD)Horacio Karamanos119Lawrence E. Murray-

Entries: Maryland Million Lassie S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 8

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 2 yo Fillies
  • 4:29 PM (local)
11Carpe Omnia (MD)Joshua Navarro114Linda L. Albert-
22Miss Bullistic (MD)Xavier Perez119Hamilton A. Smith-
33Spotted Heart (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateAngel Serpa114Mark Shuman-
44Looking for Lucky (MD)Carol Cedeno119Ronald A. Alfano-
55Rockin Jojo (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateTrevor McCarthy119T. Bernard Houghton-
66Fancy Love (MD)Forest Boyce114Lawrence E. Murray-
77Thessa's Roar (PA)UNKNOWN114Charles L. Frock-
88Sara Rocks (MD)Yomar Orlando Ortiz119W. Robert Bailes-
99My Magician (MD)Julian Pimentel114Michael J. Trombetta-
1010Rocky Policy (MD)Luis Garcia119Robert Leaf, Jr.-
1111Mo Bagels (MD)Cecily Evans119Dane Kobiskie-
1212Callmealion (MD)J. D. Acosta119Charles L. Frock-
1313Wowwhatabrat (MD)UNKNOWN114John E. Worsley-

Entries: Maryland Million Turf S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 9

  • STK
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $125,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:01 PM (local)
11Uncle Hugo (NY)Yomar Orlando Ortiz114Corby Caiazzo-
22Ben's Cat (MD)Julian Pimentel119King T. Leatherbury-
33Tru Greek (MD)Horacio Karamanos119Robin L. Graham-
44Capital Fellow (MD)Luis Garcia119Mark Shuman-
55Kiwi Notion (KY)UNKNOWN119Darrin Miller-
66Change of Command (MD)UNKNOWN119Michael J. Trombetta-
77Loves Last Chance (MD)Trevor McCarthy114H. Graham Motion-
88Excessive Drama (PA)Angel Serpa119Francis Abbott, III-
99Roadhog (PA)Kendrick Carmouche119Elizabeth M. Merryman-
1010Willy d'Rocket (PA)Angel Suarez119Kelly A. Colgan-
1111Talk Show Man (MD)Xavier Perez119Hamilton A. Smith-
1212Titan Alexander (VA)Keeneland Sales GraduateJ. D. Acosta119Jeff C. Runco-

Entries: Maryland Million Classic S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 10

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:37 PM (local)
11Love's Not Fair (MD)Horacio Karamanos119Claudio A. Gonzalez-
22Connemara Coast (MD)Daniel Centeno119Timothy L. Keefe-
33Eighttofasttocatch (MD)Forest Boyce119Timothy L. Keefe-
44Concealed Identity (MD)J. D. Acosta119Linda S. Gaudet-
55Turbin (MD)Inoel Beato119Keith Nations-
66Irish Lion (MD)Jevian Toledo119Phil Schoenthal-
77Wild Louis (MD)Cecily Evans119Dane Kobiskie-
88Seventeenohsix (PA)Kendrick Carmouche119John C. Servis-
99Excessive Drama (PA)Angel Serpa119Francis Abbott, III-