King T. Leatherbury’s homebred gelding Ben's Cat swept three divisional categories–older male, turf runner, and sprinter–and was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year of 2011 in the annual poll conducted by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
The richest Maryland-bred runner of 2011 with earnings of $588,250, Ben’s Cat (Parker's Storm Cat—Twofox, by Thirty Eight Paces) made 11 starts in his second year of competition at age 5, all in stakes company, and won six times. His biggest score came in the $350,000 Turf Monster Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Parx Racing Sept. 5 when he defeated 10 others in the five-furlong turf sprint, including the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) winner Chamberlain Bridge.
Ben’s Cat joins Heros Reward and Les Arcs as the only Maryland-breds to be awarded as many as three divisional titles in one year: Heros Reward earned the distinction in 2007-08; Les Arcs in 2006.
Other divisional champions:
2-year-old male: Jack's in the Deck (Love of Money—Thracian, by Partner's Hero). Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman; owned by Skeedattle Associates; trained by Robin Graham.
2-year-old filly: Plum (Pure Prize—Bamba, by Not For Love). Bred and owned by Dark Hollow Farm; trained by Rodney Jenkins.
3-year-old filly: Bold Affair (Two Punch—Hunka Hunka Lori Z, by Colonial Affair). Bred and owned by Charles Reed and Michael Zanella; trained by Howard Wolfendale.
Steeplechaser: Incomplete (Press Card—Sioux Lady, by Poker). Bred by Hugo Procopio; owned by Robert A. Kinsley; trained by Ann D. Stewart.
Profiles of all the Maryland-bred champions will be posted at www.marylandthoroughbred.com/breeders/champions/.