Ben's Cat will be back to defend his crown against nine rivals in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup on the night of July 28, at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
The richest card in the track's history also features the inaugural running of the $175,000 Mountainview Handicap over the main track, and the $100,000 East Hanover Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Total purses for the 10-race program that begins at 6 p.m. EDT are $630,000.
Jim Stable’s Ben’s Cat can become a racing millionaire if he takes down top prize of $120,000 in the Governor’s Cup in consecutive years. The 6-year old is fresh off a two-length victory in the $150,000 Parx Dash on June 17. Overall he has won 16 of 24 career races for career earnings of $939,090.
Last season Ben’s Cat rallied in deep stretch to post a half-length win in the Governor’s Cup in :56.2 under Jeremy Rose. This weekend Juan Pimentel will break the 9-5 morning line favorite from post 2 for trainer King T. Leatherbury.
Bert and Diana Firestone's Varsity is unbeaten in two starts this year for trainer Christophe Clement and is the 2-1 second choice with Kendrick Carmouche in the irons. The 5-year old won the James McSorley at Monmouth Park on June 10, and has posted four wins from seven career turf efforts.
Eight main track distance runners entered the 1 1/8-mile Mountainview Handicap led by Marilyn's Guy and Toby's Corner. Marilyn's Guy has two stakes scores this year highlighted by a neck win in the $150,000 Excelsior (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack March 17. C.C. Lopez rides the 5-2 morning line pick for Anthony Dutrow.
Last year the connections behind Toby’s Corner had aspirations of a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after the chestnut colt beat champion Uncle Mo in the $1 milion Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct. But problems cropped up soon after and trainer Graham Motion was forced to put him on the sidelines until February of this year.
Toby’s Corner has faced some of the best handicap runners in the country in his return to competition in 2012 and may be well spotted this weekend. Jeremy Rose will break the 3-1 shot from post 7.
Smart Bid is a stablemate of Toby’s Corner and the 2-1 pick over nine foes in the $100,000 East Hanover Stakes. The 6-year-old won the $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap earlier this year and sports lifetime winnings of $933,013. Freud's Honour, winner of last year’s Choice at Monmouth Park, is 4-1 second choice.
$200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap (Race 5, 7:52 p.m.), 3 & Up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Jack On the Rocks (MD), J D Acosta, 119, H I McMahon, 15/1
2. Blue Tick Hound (PA), K McManigell, 119, B Malone, 50/1
3. Ben's Cat (MD), J Pimentel, 122, K T Leatherbury, 9/5
4. Philly Bound (PA), D Cora, 119, T C Kreiser, 12/1
5. Varsity (KY), K Carmouche, 122, C Clement, 2/1
6. Great Mills (KY), M J Luzzi, 122, S M Asmussen, 6/1
7. Cactus Son (KY), J Rocco Jr., 119, K P Smith, 10/1
8. Super Chunky (FL), S Russell, 119, K M Cox, 12/1
9. Kyma (PA), D G Whitney, 119, B L Kulp, 15/1
10. Car Thief (FL), R Alvarado Jr., 119, H Hollahan, 12/1