09/23/2011 4:55PM

Laurel: Ben's Cat among 151 horses pre-entered for Maryland Million


Breeders’ Cup candidate Ben’s Cat is among 151 horses who were pre-entered Friday for next weekend’s 26th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park.

The list includes 13 horses who were cross-entered in more than one race on the program, which features 11 stakes for the offspring of Maryland-based sires. Post positions for the $1.05 million worth of races will be held at noon Wednesday.

The 5-year-old Ben’s Cat earned himself a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by winning the Grade 3 Turf Monster earlier this month at Parx Racing. He is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, however, and breeder-owner-trainer King Leatherbury has said he wants someone to step forward and pick up the $100,000 tab it could cost to supplement Ben’s Cat and get him to Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

“I was talking to a guy last week but he wanted to divide the thing up too much and I didn’t want that,” said Leatherbury, who ranks third on the all-time wins list of trainers with 6,325 winners. “If something else comes up we’ll seriously consider it. There is some talk but there is nothing serious at this point.”

Leatherbury plans to run Ben’s Cat in next Saturday’s Maryland Million Turf Sprint., a race he won by 4 1/2 lengths last fall.

“In his last two starts he has won $200,000 and $350,000 stakes so he is doing well,” said Leatherbury, who ranks second among trainers with eight Maryland Million victories. “There are not many horses that are better than him right now.”

The featured $150,000 Classic has attracted a probable field of eight. Conspicuous by his absence, however, is defending champion Regal Solo, whose connections are pointing him to the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint.

The Classic nominees include 2009 winner Sumacha’hot, who missed last year’s race with a minor leg injury, 2009 Nursery champion Toboggan Slide, and the two-three-four finishers from last year’s Classic – Not Abroad, Regal Warrior, and In The Juice.

Overall, 14 previous Million day winners are nominated, including defending champions Blind Date in the $100,000 Distaff), Sweet Nenana in the $100,000 Ladies, and  Pocket Patch  in the $100,000 Turf.