06/17/2012 4:28PM

Parx: Ben's Cat sets course record winning Parx Dash

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Barbara Weidl/Equiphoto
Ben's Cat, ridden by Julian Pimentel, runs five furlongs in 54.96 seconds to capture the Parx Dash Handicap.

Ben’s Cat, displaying far more early speed than usual, snapped out of his mini-slump with a track-record performance in Sunday’s $150,000 Parx Dash Handicap.

In winning his 11th career stakes, the 6-year-old Ben’s Cat ($22.80) sizzled five furlongs on a firm turf course in 54.96 seconds, breaking the course record of 55.42 set by Crimson Sun on Sept. 22, 2008.

Unlike his previous two starts, when Ben’s Cat dropped far back early and failed to hit the board as the favorite, new jockey Julian Pimentel was able to coax more early speed out of his mount in the Parx Dash. Saving ground while setting third behind swift fractions of 21.46 and 43.58 seconds by 33-1 longshot Wild Memories, Ben’s Cat swung off the rail in the stretch and drew off to win by two lengths.

Bridgetown, the 4-5 favorite of the basis of his runner-up finish in last month’s Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, finished second, a half-length in front of 2-1 second choice Perfect Officer.

A son of Parker’s Storm Cat owned and bred by trainer King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat has now won 16 of 24 starts and $939,090.