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Ben's Cat Completes Three-Peat In Maryland Million Turf Sprint
LAUREL, MD. 10-06-12--- Ben’s Cat became the fourth horse to win a Maryland Million race three consecutive years with a victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint, one of 11 stakes races Saturday at Laurel Park. The other runners to complete the three-peat are Hall of Famer Safely Kept (Distaff, ’89-91), Countus In (Ladies, ’89-91) and Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies, ’93-95).
Confidently ridden by Julian Pimentel, the son of Parker’s Storm Cat carried 128 pounds to victory in the 5-1/2 furlong test on the firm turf, beating 10-year-old Heros Reward by ¾’s of a length. Ben’s Cat completed the distance in 1:01.64 and paid $2.80 as the overwhelming favorite.
“You know he broke really sharp and I was just laying close,” Pimentel said. “I was just biding my time, taking my time you know and when I asked him to run he just took off.”
The son of Parker’s Storm Cat became King Leatherbury’s first millionaire with a victory in the Turf Monster Handicap (G3) at Parx Racing in his previous start. He has won 18-of-27 starts with earnings of $1,216,090.
“He’s now showing a little more speed early on, which he wasn’t before,” said Leatherbury, who ranks third on the all-time win list with 6,350 career victories. “We don’t want him to flash that early speed. He is doing that on his own.”
Bred, owned and trained by Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat has been victorious in 11 of 16 on the turf and has 13 stakes scores. Now six, he had to recover from a broken pelvis before he made his maiden debut at age four in 2010, then began his career with eight consecutive victories, which included a 4 ½ length score in the Turf Sprint. He won last year’s Turf Sprint by a length.
Ben’s Cat carried 128 pounds, 11 to 18 more than his eight rivals.
“I was real worried about that 128 pounds,” Leatherbury added. “Right to the end the horse was getting to us from the outside, old Heros Reward. I hope Ben is that good at 10 years old.”
Heros Reward, a multiple graded stakes winner for Dale Capuano, improved his career earnings to $1,272,898.
“He is an unbelievable horse,” Pimentel said. “When that horse came to him on the turn he took off again. At the end of the race he felt the other horse coming and he dug in.”
The win moved Leatherbury ahead of Capuano for the top spot in the Maryland Million trainer standings with 10.
About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.