10/30/2010 5:59PM

Ben's Cat stays unbeaten with nose victory in Find Handicap

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ben's Cat, on the rail under Julian Pimentel, will be back on turf for the first time since winning the Find last October in Saturday's Henry Clark.

Ben’s Cat, making the difficult stretch out from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, outdueled Baltimore Bob in a stretch-long battle to remain undefeated in Saturday’s $50,000 Find Handicap at Laurel Park.

A 4-year-old gelding who did not make his career debut until this past May, Ben’s Cat ($3.60) held off Baltimore Bob by a nose to improve to 7 for 7.

It was the third straight stakes victory since trainer King Leatherbury switched Ben’s Cat from dirt to turf in August. It was the first time Ben’s Cat had been asked to race beyond seven furlongs, and he managed to win, covering the distance over a course rated good in 1:52.20, despite racing three wide around both turns.

 

“I don’t know how fast he can run because he does it so easy," said jockey Julian Pimentel, who has been aboard for six of Ben's Cat's seven races."When that other horse hooked me, he never gave up. When he puts it all together he is going to be a freak.”

Leatherbury ranks third on the all-time win list with 6,308 career victories and has conditioned Grade 1 winners Catatonic and Taking Risks, 10-time stakes winner Ah Day, and four Preakness starters. Ben’s Cat sustained a broken pelvis as a 2-year-old and did not make his first career start until five months ago. A homebred son of Parker’s Storm Cat, Ben's Cat previously won the Mister Diz and the Maryland Million Turf Sprint.

 “We don’t know the potential,” said Leatherbury. “He hasn’t reached the point where we thought that was the best he could do. I have picked the easiest spots so far but they are going to run out so we’ll have to try some tougher spots. Sooner or later he is going to get beat and then we’ll see.”

Baltimore Bob, the second choice at 2-1 in a field of seven Maryland-breds, put his head in front at the eighth pole but then drifted in slightly in deep stretch to just miss. He was 2 1/4 lengths clear of the third-place finisher, Court Band.