King Leatherbury’s Ben's Cat will take a pass on the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) and instead run in the Oct. 29 Laurel Turf Dash at Laurel Park.
Ben’s Cat, trained and bred by Leatherbury, could have raced in the Turf Sprint with a $100,000 supplemental payment. Leatherbury had indicated he was trying to find some partners to help pay the ante, but on Oct. 25 said he decided against it.
Ben’s Cat, a 5-year-old son of Parker's Storm Cat, won the Turf Monster Handicap (gr. III), a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, at Parx Racing in August to earn an automatic Turf Sprint berth—if his owner paid the supplemental fee.
Pre-entries for the World Championships were due Oct. 24.
“It was a case of being practical,” Leatherbury said. “Putting up $100,000 really didn’t agree with me, which is why I was looking for investors. On (Oct. 22) we were $20,000 short, but then guys started dropping out.
“For me to supplement on my own, it would have been throwing the money that he earned back at them. It just didn’t add up. We would have had to run one-two to make any money.”
Ben’s Cat has won 13 of 18 starts, including eight stakes, with lifetime earnings of $733,230. He recovered from a broken pelvis to make his career debut at age 4 and began his career with eight consecutive victories.
“I am a little disappointed not to be able to go down to Churchill—it would have been fun,” Leatherbury said. “They told me there was an opportunity to supplement for $25,000 earlier this year. I was unaware of that, but in the spring I wasn’t sure he was good enough. He has improved a great deal this summer and would have certainly been a contender in the Breeders’ Cup.”
The $75,000 Laurel Dash is at six furlongs on the grass.