Bold Thunder Spoils Return of Ben’s Cat

Bold Thunder Spoils Return of Ben’s Cat

Popular Maryland-Bred Runs Second in 2015 Debut

BALTIMORE, MD., 04/17/15 --- Making his fourth start of the year and first since returning from South Florida, Bold Thunder spoiled the 2015 debut of 9-year-old multiple graded stakes winner Ben’s Cat with a  front-running, three-length victory in Friday’s second race at Pimlico Race Course.

Trained by Patricia Farro for owner Andrew Sulley, Bold Thunder ($4.80) led a field of five through a quarter-mile in 22.73 seconds and a half in 45.50 while Julien Pimentel and Ben’s Cat settled in second. A 5-year-old multiple stakes winner, Bold Thunder hit the wire in 57.62 seconds for five furlongs over a firm turf course in the $55,000 allowance.

Ben’s Cat, bred, owned and trained by legendary Mid-Atlantic horseman King Leatherbury, was making his first start since winning the Fabulous Strike Stakes on Nov. 29. Friday’s race came nine years to the day when the Parker’s Storm Cat gelding was foaled. He went off the 3-5 favorite.

“It was disappointing, naturally, anytime you get a horse that wins all the time and doesn’t win. But, this is what happens in all races. We know there’s no such thing as a sure thing,” Leatherbury said.

“He ran a good race, just not good enough. He met a horse that had everything his way. He was the only speed in the race, and he’s a legitimate horse. He’s beaten me before, and I’ve beaten him several times. He’s a nice horse, and he beat us.”

Named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year in February for an unprecedented fourth time, Ben’s Cat had worked four times at Laurel Park following his annual winter break. He had run in 23 consecutive stakes since finishing sixth in an optional claiming allowance on April 21, 2012 at Pimlico.

Ben’s Cat has won 28 races, 23 stakes, four Grade 3 stakes and more than $2.3 million from 46 lifetime starts. Leatherbury will point next to the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, scheduled for five furlongs on the grass May 15, Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. Ben’s Cat won the McKay in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

“This should set him up for the next one. It’s been a good spot for us,” Leatherbury said. “He’ll be ready for that. We’ll go on and follow the same format as we did the last few years.”

Ranked fourth all-time with 6,454 career wins, Leatherbury is a first-time finalist for induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this summer in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The Class of 2015 will be announced Monday.