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Ben’s Cat Wins His Third Jim McKay Turf Sprint
BALTIMORE – 5-16-14 – The Jim Stable’s Ben’s Cat maintained his amazing winning ways Friday at Pimlico, winning the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint for the third time. The victory was his 21st in stakes competition and 26th career win from 39 starts.
King Leatherbury bred, owns and trains Ben’s Cat, an 8-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat. The field for the Jim McKay was whittled down from nine starters to four after the race was switched from the grass to the main track but the racing surface seems to make little difference to this runner.
Regular rider Julian Pimentel sent Ben’s Cat after the speedy leader, Great Attack, and pushed ahead at the eighth-pole. Ben’s Cat reached the finish line in 57.75 for five furlongs, winning by 1 ¾ lengths over a ‘good’ track. Great Attack was second and Smash and Grab finished third. Ben’s Cat was the overwhelming favorite, paying $2.80.
With the win, Ben’s Cat moves to seventh, ahead of Little Bold John, on the all-time list of Maryland-breds with $1,967,790. Leatherbury is fourth on the all-time list of trainers with 6,428 winners behind Dale Baird, Steve Asmussen and Jerry Hollendorfer.
Jim McKay Turf Sprint Quotes
Winning Trainer King Leatherbury (Ben’s Cat): “The rider said all he does is hold on. These aren’t real tough spots. He’s been the same over the past five years. I criticize myself taking so much for granted. I expect to win. He’s spoiling me. I was hoping for the slop. He really loves the slop. In the morning on a sloppy track, he wants to break away. I think his best surface is equal – turf and slop. We say it every year, ‘he’s better than ever.’ How long can we say that? He’s 8. How long can he keep going like this? 9? 10? 11? It’s hard to believe. He’s a remarkable, amazing horse.
“He’ll run in the Governor’s Cup at Penn National. He had a long rest up to this race, so it will set up perfectly for him. I considered Jim McKay a personal friend, so it means a lot to me to win this race.”
Winning Jockey Julian Pimentel (Ben’s Cat): “I just have to hold on. He’s been working well and at 8 he just keeps going. I didn’t have any trouble in the race. He always knows just what to do. So if any of them want to come after him in the stretch, they better hurry up if they plan to catch him.”