Ben's Cat

Ben's Cat

Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

Ben's Cat to Skip De Francis for Laurel Dash

Trainer King Leatherbury confirmed his plans for the runner Sept. 20.

By John Scheinman

Trainer King Leatherbury said Sept. 20 he has decided to run his millionaire star Ben's Cat in the $100,000 Laurel Dash, a six-furlong grass sprint, rather than shooting for the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash on the dirt on the same card Sept. 21 at Laurel Park. 

Ben's Cat, owned and bred by Leatherbury, is 4-5 on the morning line for the Dash; he would have been the 9-2 second choice behind Sage Valley in the De Francis. 
 
"I'm unbeatable in the turf and I'll take a sure thing over gambling," Leatherbury said. "It was a tough decision. It was a lot of money. I was telling everyone yesterday there was an 80 percent chance I was running in the big race. I looked at it. The turf race came up extremely easy, and it's two horses in the big race that I don't have to beat."
 
Ben's Cat, a 7-year-old Maryland-bred Parker's Storm Cat gelding, won the 2011 Laurel Dash and was second in last year's edition by three-quarters of a length to Jazzy Idea. He comes off a third-place finish in the Sept. 2 Turf Monster Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Parx Racing, and before that won the July 5 Parx Dash Handicap (gr. IIIT).
 
Overall, Leatherbury's homebred out of the Thirty Eight Paces mare Twofox has a 22-3-3 record from 34 starts, with earnings of $1,635,640. On turf, Ben's Cat is 14-2-2 from 22 starts.