Ben's Cat is the defending champion in the Parx Dash.

Ben's Cat is the defending champion in the Parx Dash.

Alyssa Spakowski/EQUI-PHOTO

Remarkable Ben's Cat Defends Parx Dash Title

King Leatherbury's star turf sprinter facing Tightend Touchdown, Bridgetown July 5.

Star turf sprinter Ben's Cat is the 2-1 morning line favorite in a field of seven entered for the $200,000 Parx Dash (gr. IIIT) July 5 at Philadelphia's Parx Racing.

The Parx Dash, at five furlongs on grass, was awarded graded status this year in just its third renewal. The race is the seventh on Friday's program with a 5 p.m. EDT scheduled post.

Ben’s Cat, King Leatherbury's Maryland homebred, is a two-time winner of Parx’s biggest turf sprint, the Turf Monster Handicap (gr. IIIT), and is the defending champion in the Parx Dash. The 7-year-old gelded son of Parker's Storm Cat sports a remarkable career record of 21 wins in 32 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,477,140 over his career for legendary trainer Leatherbury and The Jim Stable.

While beaten in his most recent start at Penn National Race Course in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup June 1, he really had no chance when forced to check abruptly while racing mid-pack on the outside. He made a remarkable recovery to get up for third. Regular rider Julian Pimentel will be aboard Ben's Cat Friday, breaking from post 6 with 121 pounds.

Opening up at 5-2 is budding turf star Tightend Touchdown, front-running winner of the aforementioned Governor's Cup by 5 1/2 lengths. His time in the five-furlong event, :54.62, missed the Penn National course record by one 1/100th of a second.

While the majority of his 18 career starts have come on dirt, the recent $35,000 claim by trainer Jason Servis has made a successful switch to the grass. The 4-year-old gelded son of Pure Precision won an allowance/optional claiming race May 16 on the Belmont Park inner course, completing six furlongs in 1:07.57. He’ll be seeking his fourth straight win as the 122-pound top weight for Mr. Amore Stable with Javier Castellano aboard.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out his top turf sprinter, Melynk Racing Stables’s Bridgetown, pegged at 3-1 on the early line. The 6-year-old son of Speightstown  has won $971,700 over his 22-race career and was second in the Governor's Cup last time. He was also second to Ben’s Cat in last year's Parx Dash. Leading jockey John Bisono will pick up the mount on Bridgetown, who will carry 120 pounds.

Completing the field are Wild Memories, Luckysdream, Catalactic, and Spring to the Sky.

$200,000 Parx Dash Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 5 p.m.), 3 & Up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Bridgetown (FL), J Bisono, 120, T A Pletcher, 3/1
2. Wild Memories (FL), R Chiappe, 112, J G Guerrero, 5/1
3. Tightend Touchdown (FL), J Castellano, 122, J Servis, 5/2
4. Luckysdream (KY), R Alvarado Jr. 114, R Preciado, 12/1
5. Catalactic (PA), J L Flores, 115, J M Baird, 12/1
6. Ben's Cat (MD), J Pimentel, 121, K T Leatherbury, 2/1
7. Spring to the Sky (KY), S Elliott, 117, B R Brown, 8/1