07/05/2013 5:37PM

Parx: Ben's Cat turns tables on Tightend Touchdown in Parx Dash

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Ben's Cat, with Julian Pimental aboard, wins the Parx Dash for the second straight year.

A far cleaner trip in a much smaller field helped the millionaire turf sprinter Ben’s Cat turn the tables on Tightend Touchdown in Friday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Parx Dash Handicap at Parx Racing.

Shuffled extremely wide and forced to steady when one of his nine rivals bore out badly in last month’s Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National, Ben’s Cat finished 7 1/4 lengths behind front-running Tightend Touchdown on June 1. The rematch, however, unfolded far differently.

For starters, Tightend Touchdown and jockey Javier Castellano were outgunned leaving the gate by Wild Memories, a former claimer whose best success has come in starter allowance races. Wild Memories opened up a three-length lead, chased down the backstretch by Tightend Touchdown, the 4-5 favorite in a field reduced to six by the scratch of Spring to the Sky.

Wild Memories, who set modest fractions of 22.19 and 46.67 seconds, tired badly at the top of the stretch, allowing Tightend Touchdown to inherit the lead and he moved 1 1/2 lengths in front with a furlong remaining. But Ben’s Cat ($4.60), who was as far back as nine lengths early, had no traffic problems this time and took dead aim on Tightend Touchdown. Urged on by Julian Pimental, Ben’s Cat took the lead inside the sixteenth pole and was 1 1/4 lengths clear at the finish.

It was the second straight Parx Dash title for Ben’s Cat, a 7-year-old gelding owned and trained by 80-year-old King Leatherbury. A year ago, Ben’s Cat set the Parx five-furlong course record of 54.96 seconds. Friday, he needed a relatively slow 59.13 to get the job done. Ben’s Cat has now won 22 of 33 starts and $1,597,140.

Tightend Touchdown settled for second, six lengths clear of the Todd Pletcher-trained Bridgetown in third.