10/29/2011 4:47PM

Laurel: Sloppy track no problem for Ben's Cat

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ben's Cat collects the ninth stakes victory of his career in the off-the-turf Laurel Dash.

The switch from his accustomed grass surface to a sloppy track posed no problems for Ben’s Cat.

Racing in the slop for the first time in his 19-race career and back on the main track after six straight races on turf, Ben’s Cat ($3.80) took control in the stretch and rolled to a two-length victory in the $75,000 Laurel Dash at Laurel Park on Saturday.

It was the fourth straight win and the 14th overall for Ben’s Cat, a 5-year-old who did not get to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint despite a victory in the Win and You’re In Turf Monster at Parx because his owner-breeder-trainer King Leatherbury felt it was impractical to pay the $100,000 it would have cost to supplement to the race.

Ridden by Jeremy Rose, Ben’s Cat made a three-wide move to blow past dueling pacesetters Ju Jitsu Jax and Royal Currier and drew clear in deep stretch.

“Ben just toyed with them,” said Rose. “To me it was one of his more powerful races. King and I were talking. He hasn’t been on dirt for a while, so I didn’t want to get behind a bunch of horses, so I just tipped to the outside. What amazes me is the 2 horse [Royal Currier] has back class. He just won the Gallant Bob in impressive fashion and he [Ben’s Cat] ran by him like he was a $12,000 claimer. I would like to see one day where somebody can actually stay with him to see what kind of kick he has. I haven’t got to the bottom of this horse.”

Royal Currier, a 3-year-old coming off a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for winning last month’s $250,000 Gallant Bob at Parx, finished second. Action Andy got third in a field reduced to six after six horses were scratched when the race was taken off the turf.

Ben’s Cat ran the six furlongs in 1:11.11.