07/09/2013 1:20PM

Dick Jerardi: Lucy's Bob Boy endures misery at Monmouth Park

Coady Photography
Lucy's Bob Boy, shown winning the Confucius Say at Charles Town, returned from his fifth-place finish in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park missing one shoe and with one eye swollen shut.

The hint that something was amiss with Lucy’s Bob Boy came right at the start of the horse’s first out-of-town venture. The West Virginia-bred Charles Town star Lucy’s Bob Boy broke behind the field in last Saturday’s Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. He rushed up to get great stalking position right off the moderate pace of Big Sur.

But when it was time to go on the far turn, Lucy’s Bob Boy did not go. He did not collapse, but he did not quicken when longshots Raging Daoust and Big Sur got away from the field and battled to the wire. Lucy’s Bob Boy finished fifth, beaten by four lengths.

Watching the race, Lucy’s Bob Boy’s trainer Sandra Dono was “disappointed.’’ Then, she saw her star, winner in 13 of his 16 starts with three seconds.

“His right eye was swollen shut,’’ Dono said. “And he had no left front shoe. Not to make excuses. I think he might have banged his head in the starting gate.’’

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That could certainly explain the poor break. And the injury could have been a factor in the horse’s atypical performance.

At first glance, it looked like it might have been the better competition that got Lucy’s Bob Boy, but the winning Beyer was just 98. Lucy’s Bob Boy got a 90, a number he had beaten five times in his previous seven starts.

“My poor baby,’’ Dono thought when the horse returned to be unsaddled. “It had to be in the starting gate because he was fine before the race. He didn’t get any dirt in that eye whatsoever, so it seemed that eye had to be closed most of the race.’’

After vanning back to Charles Town on Saturday night, Dono was able to report that the 4-year-old’s eye “was open about a half an inch.”

“At least the vet got to check it out,” she said. “He said in two or three days, he thinks he will be back to normal, the swelling will be down.’’

The trainer figures Lucy’s Bob Boy “had a little bit of a headache.’’

She was not happy with the result, but thinks the horse deserves another chance out of town, as he has conquered all worlds that could be conquered in West Virginia.

“I think we’ll probably try him again,’’ Dono said. “Hopefully, next time we’ll have better racing luck. I’m just happy he didn’t do any really serious damage to his eye.’’

Ben’s Cat fires in Parx Dash

King Leatherbury was surrounded by family and friends in the box area as the horses were loading for the $200,000 Parx Dash last Friday. Ben’s Cat was lingering behind the gate, giving the assistant starters a bit of a hard time on a brutally hot day.

“He just wants to make them stand in there a while,’’ Leatherbury cracked.

When the field hit the eighth pole, everybody was waiting on Ben’s Cat to unleash his rally. Tightend Touchdown, so impressive in winning the June 1 Governor’s Cup at Penn National, had gotten away from the field after prompting the pace. But the amazing Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat was coming fast.

“Come on Cat,’’ Leatherbury cackled.

Ben’s Cat went on and right past Tightend Touchdown. He won the Parx Dash for the second consecutive year. Last year, on a very firm track, he ran the five furlongs on grass in 54.46 seconds. This year, on a course softened by days of rain, it was 59.43. The result was the same.

It was the 22nd lifetime win in 33 starts for Leatherbury’s horse of a lifetime. The trainer had never had a $1 million winner. Ben’s Cat is now $400,000 shy of $2 million.

“He’s as sound and as good now as he’s ever been at 7 years old,’’ Leatherbury said. “Nothing’s stopping him at 8. Being a turf horse is a blessing because you don’t run when the turf season is over. And there are not that many turf races so you have to space them out.’’

Ben’s Cat will return to Parx on Labor Day to run in the Turf Monster. He won that race last year, too.

Delaware’s big races on tap

Saturday’s Delaware Oaks for 3-year-old fillies begins the biggest week of the meet. It will culminate with the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on July 20 and the return of defending champion Royal Delta.

Rydilluc tops Virginia Derby probables

Penn Mile winner Rydilluc is one of 36 nominated for Saturday’s Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s barn, the hottest stable in America, has nominated seven to try to beat Rydilluc.

Fondness for Penn National

The 8-year-old Run With Me has raced 56 times with 11 wins. The horse really runs well at his home track of Penn National. The horse has run 37 times at Penn with 10 wins, 11 seconds and 3 thirds.