08/21/2010 6:07PM

Ben's Cat remains undefeated by winning turf debut

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ben's Cat, winning last summer's Mister Diz, will try to defend his title and extend his perfect record on turf to 4 for 4.

Ben’s Cat proved to be just as effective on turf as he has been on the main track.
A 4-year-old colt making his turf debut after beginning his career with four consecutive sprint victories on dirt, Ben’s Cat ($7.20) remained undefeated when he came from o ff the pace to win Saturday’s $50,000 Mister Diz Stakes for Maryland-breds at Laurel Park.
With Rosemary Homeister named as a late replacement for regular rider Julien Pimental, Ben’s Cat still needed a scratch to draw into the race from the also-eligible list. He was fifth after a half-mile, but swung four-wide into contention turning for home and came down the middle of the track to blow past tiring leader Heros Reward to win his fifth straight race. Trained and bred by King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat completed six furlongs on firm turf in 1:09.08.

“He’s an amazing horse,” said Homeister. “He was 4 for 4 going into this race so the pressure was on, especially first time running on the turf course because it was a little soft. He actually handled it very well. Usually he’s in front, so he showed a little different way of running style, so hopefully that will help him down the road.

"I was concerned a little when he didn’t break as sharp as his dirt form but I think that it worked to his benefit that he didn’t get stuck behind a bunch of horses. He had a clear trip all the way and in the lane he actually did a little swerve the last eighth of a mile. I think he was looking at the grandstand. Once I got back into him he kicked on again.”


Ben’s Cat sustained a broken pelvis before he made his first start. Among his wins earlier this year was Leatherbury’s 6,300th lifetime victdory.

"He had to stay in the stall for six months and finally it healed properly so obviously it’s not bothering him now," Leatherbury said.

Leatherbury indicated he will run both Ben's Cat and Ah Day, a dirt horse who finished seventh in the Mister Diz, on this fall's Maryland Million Day card.

Sandbagin’ Lover finished second at 22-1, 1 1/4 lengths in front of another longshot, 36-1 bomer Celtic Innis. Heros Reward, a multiple graded stakes winner with $1.1 million in earnings, set a contested pace, but faded to eighth as the 7-5 favorite.