04/01/2014 11:27AM

Dick Jerardi: Keep an eye on Kid Cruz

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Based on his impressive last-to-first move in the Private Terms at Laurel, Kid Cruz could make an impact in stakes for 3-year-olds sometime this spring.

It has been 3 1/2 weeks since the Private Terms was run at Laurel Park, but the memory of the last-to-first run by Kid Cruz lingers. Kid Cruz, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, was out of the TV screen for much of the race, his actual presence confirmed because track announcer Dave Rodman kept calling his name.

They went six furlongs in 1:14.92 and Kid Cruz had just started to move. Surely, a late run would be not very effective into a very slow pace. Normally, it would not be, but Kid Cruz was not normal that day. The video tells the story. The colt was at least 20 lengths and probably more behind on the backstretch, but was rolling when he hit the homestretch. He went from last to third at the eighth pole and four lengths clear at the wire, getting a career-best 91 Beyer while finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.82 on a track that was very slow.

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Kid Cruz was claimed out of his second start for $50,000 from Bill Mott by Linda Rice. Rice put Kid Cruz on Lasix and he gave a big effort when second by less than a length in a first-level allowance at Aqueduct. That convinced Rice to try Kid Cruz in a stakes. She got a giant performance and the bettors got 4-1.

Kid Cruz looks like a very good claim and a very promising 3-year-old. Rice had been at least considering Saturday’s Wood Memorial, but that race is loaded. Kid Cruz can win some races, maybe not that race.

Ben’s Cat is back

Ben’s Cat is scheduled to make his 2014 debut Saturday at Pimlico in the Mister Diz Stakes. Ben will be trying to win the Mister Diz for the fifth consecutive year.

“That is his race,” said King Leatherbury, the owner and trainer of Ben’s Cat.

If Ben’s Cat wins – and why wouldn’t he? – it will be his 20th career stakes victory. The horse has earned $1,862,640, eighth all-time among Maryland-breds. Ben’s Cat has won more than $500,000 each of the last three years and is 24 for 37 lifetime.

“He is doing super good,” Leatherbury said. “Every year I say he’s never been better and it is hard to say because he is 8 years old, but he acts like he’s never been better. He is just a super horse. To come across something like this has been amazing. He can just run and tries hard. He knows he is supposed to win when those horses are ahead of him.”

Leatherbury, 81, has won 52 training titles at Laurel Park and Pimlico. He ranks fourth all time with 6,423 winners, but, again, did not make the list of finalists for the Racing Hall of Fame.

“I understand that it is the president of the organization’s belief that whoever gets elected should perform at the top level of racing, which I don’t,” said Leatherbury, who won his first race in 1959 at Sunshine Park. “One of my sportswriter supporters asked him and that answer is what was relayed to me. If that is the reason then I understand.”

Delaware stall applications extended

The stall application deadline for the 77th Delaware Park meet has been extended until Saturday. For more information about the stall applications, contact the Delaware Park racing office at 302-994-2521 extension 7282 or 7341.

The meet will go 81 days, from May 17 to Oct. 22. The Grade 2 Delaware Oaks and Grade 1 Delaware Handicap will be run July 5 and July 12, respectively.