Ben's Cat

Ben's Cat

Chad B. Harmon

Ben's Cat Seeks Third Laurel Dash Victory

Gelding won the race in 2011 and 2013.

During a distinguished 58-race career that began in 2010, Ben's Cat has 32 victories—26 of them in stakes—and has earned more than $2.6 million.

Bred, owned, and trained by Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury, the popular Maryland-bred has never lost more than three races in a row. The 10-year-old Parker's Storm Cat gelding will look to continue that streak when he enters the gate in the $100,000 Laurel Dash as part of the 11-race Turf Festival program Sept. 10 at Laurel Park.

Ben's Cat is a two-time winner of the Laurel Dash, in 2011 and 2013. He was second by three-quarters of a length behind filly Jazzy Idea's track-record performance in 2012 and third by a length in 2014.

"It's right here on our home ground, it's on the turf, it's $100,000, it's a perfect spot basically since all we have to do is walk over to the paddock," Leatherbury said. "This is the spot to run him, no doubt about that."

Ben's Cat opened 2016 with back-to-back wins, an open allowance May 1 at Laurel and his fourth straight Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 20 at Pimlico Race Course. He has followed with three consecutive third-place finishes, all in stakes, most recently Aug. 20 in his attempt to win Laurel's Mister Diz for a North American record-tying seventh straight year.

"To be honest, the Mister Diz was a big disappointment," Leatherbury said. "It really was a disappointment, but this is horse racing. He's a remarkable horse. To just keep coming back race after race like he has is remarkable. We're as good as we can be under the circumstances."

Leatherbury said Ben's Cat emerged from the Mister Diz with several superficial cuts on his legs, but the trainer was unsure whether it was a factor in the race. Ben's Cat was in striking position at the top of the stretch but was unable to unleash a late run to catch 43-1 longshot winner John Jones.

Ben's Cat has lost three straight races three times previously in his career: Dec. 19, 2010-Feb. 21, 2011, Sept. 1, 2014-Oct. 18, 2014, and Sept. 7, 2015-Nov. 25, 2015. Each time he came back to win.

"He seems to be OK now," Leatherbury said. "You don't know really how much it mattered in the finish of the race. You like to give a horse excuses but, generally, results are the thing. We got beat up a little bit in that race last time that he ran and it took him a little bit longer to recover than normal. He worked (Sept. 6) and went nice, so we're in good shape. We're going to enter with every intention to run."

A field of 13 is entered, including also-eligibles John Jones and Weekend Hideaway.

John Jones was a front-running winner of the Mister Diz in his stakes debut, which was also his first start since being claimed by trainer Lacey Gaudet for owner Matthew Schera.

"I did think at the head of the lane that it would be about time," Gaudet said. "When you see a horse that's 40-1 in front, you know that they're going to be coming to get you. They did. They tried to come and get him and he just kicked back on."

Entries: Laurel Dash S.

Laurel Park, Saturday, September 10, 2016, Race 10

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:40 PM (local)
11Mister Brightside (IRE)Sheldon Russell118Niall Saville6/1
22Mosler (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdgar S. Prado118William I. Mott7/2
33Sallal (GB)Feargal Lynch118H. Graham Motion6/1
44Wild Woo Who (FL)Brian Pedroza118Anthony Pecoraro15/1
55Ben's Cat (MD)Trevor McCarthy122King T. Leatherbury3/1
66Triple Burner (NY)Yomar Orlando Ortiz118Linda L. Albert20/1
77Barrel of Love (NY)Steve D. Hamilton118William H. Wolfendale III30/1
88Grandiflora (MD)Horacio Karamanos118Ann W. Merryman15/1
99A P Elvis (MD)Forest Boyce118William H. Wolfendale III30/1
1010Spring to the Sky (KY)Michael J. Luzzi120Bruce R. Brown4/1
1111Just Jack (MD)Jevian Toledo114Hamilton A. Smith12/1
1212John Jones (MD)Luis Garcia118Lacey Gaudet12/1
1313Weekend Hideaway (NY)UNKNOWN124Philip M. Serpe6/1