"Four years in a row, that's quite rare," said Leatherbury, who owns, trains, and bred Ben's Cat, who is out of the Thirty Eight Paces mare Twofox. "He is amazing."
Sent to post at odds of 2-5 in the field of six, Ben's Cat broke with the leaders, patiently sat off a two-horse duel, moved up and swept by without urging. The 7-year-old Parker's Storm Cat gelding completed the five-furlong distance in :57.74 and paid $2.80. Night Officer rallied up the rail to take second and Disco Elvis finished third.
"He's a remarkable horse," Pimentel said. "We had a great trip. Those two horses (Steady Warrior and Disco Elvis) went at it and I sat behind them. When it was time, I asked him and he took off."
Ben's Cat has now won 20 of 30 lifetime starts with 15 stakes victories. The win pushed his career earnings to $1,402,290.
"This is our beginning race for this season where we've kicked it off the last few years, so we're going to follow the same format," said Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list for trainers with 6,375 victories.
The 80-year-old credits Ben's Cat with revitalizing his career.
"He brought me back to life," said Leatherbury, who has 18 victories this year, just seven fewer than all of 2012. "They were about ready to plant me but we have come back to life by investing some of his earnings into the claiming game."
Leatherbury indicated he expects Ben's Cat to run in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Black-Eyed Susan day, May 17.