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Ben's Cat Looks For Fourth Straight Mister Diz Stakes Score Saturday Afternoon
BALTIMORE, 04-04-13---Two turf stakes, the Dahlia for fillies and mares and the Mister Diz for Maryland-bred sprinters highlight the 10-race card on opening Saturday at Pimlico.
The five furlong Mister Diz goes as race seven and is headed by Ben’s Cat (4-5), the three-time defending champion of the race. The reigning star of the King Leatherbury stable is 11 for 17 on the grass with career earnings exceeding $1.35 million.
The Parker’s Storm cat offspring will be making his seasonal debut in the Mister Diz, just as he did a year ago. Among his five wins in 2012 were victories in the Parx Dash Handicap, the Turf Monster Stakes (G3), the Maryland Million Turf Sprint and the Fabulous Strike Stakes.
“That might be some kind of a record (winning the same stakes race four consecutive years),” said Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,374 career victories. “He is coming into the race as well as he did last year. He is very sound and is maintaining his condition. I have had some pretty good runners throughout the years but he has to be considered the best one I have trained. We should be 1-2 in the race and hopefully this is the start of another big year for him.”
Julian Pimentel will ride Ben’s Cat.
Fifth behind Ben’s Cat in last year’s Mister Diz and second behind him in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint, Heros Reward (6-1) carries the hopes of trainer Dale Capuano and rider Erick Rodriguez. The son of Partner’s Hero has earned nearly $1.3 million in his career, which includes 12 victories on the grass.
“At age 11 he still looks good which is why we bring him back,” Capuano said. “I saw both horses (Heros Reward and Ben’s Cat) on the track this morning and said ‘there’s $2.6 million’. Those two horses sprinting on the turf, earning that much money is tough to do. Hopefully they’ll be 1-2.”
Other contenders include Night Officer (9-2) and last year’s runner-up Steady Warrior (12-1).
Should inclement weather force the race off the turf and onto the main track, Bullet Catcher (15-1), who made national news this winter after escaping the grounds of Laurel Park and galloping through traffic on U.S. Route 1, could garner attention again as he goes for his second straight victory. The son of Strong Hope was victorious in his debut here in 2011.
The Dahlia Stakes is race nine on Saturday’s program. It is slated for one mile. Twelve runners are entered with Julie’s Love, the 7-5 morning line favorite.
The 5-year old mare wintered in Florida after winning three of seven starts last year. Trained by Graham Motion, Julie’s Love won turf races at Keeneland, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course and finished second to Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine in the Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs. Erick Rodriguez has the mount.
Embarr (4-1) and Forest Boyce hope to continue their winning ways on Saturday. She is two-for-two on the grass at Pimlico and Boyce has ridden the Royal Academy mare to a total of four turf victories, including the Broadmede Stakes at Colonial Downs. Embarr has been drilling at a private training track in Virginia in anticipation of her 2013 debut for trainer Susan Cooney.
Font (8-1) raced twice at Tampa Bay Downs this winter with an optional claiming victory and an 11th place finish in the Endeavour Stakes (G3). Sheldon Russell will try to help the Pulpit mare rebound for trainer Arnaud Delacour.
The $50,000 Twixt Stakes failed to fill with only two fillies willing to face multiple stakes winner Walkwithapurpose. The Sagamore Farm homebred will instead attempt to win her sixth consecutive race in the Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course 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.