05/17/2013 3:55PM

Pimlico: Ben's Cat fires late to win Jim McKay Turf Sprint

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Tom Keyser
Ben's Cat, 7, improved his record to 21 for 31 by winning the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Friday.

BALTIMORE – The remarkable Ben’s Cat, trained and owned by the remarkable King Leatherbury, raced to his 21st victory in 31 lifetime starts on Friday at Pimlico with a late-running score in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.

Ben’s Cat ($4.20), fifth in the six-horse field during the early portion of the five-furlong grass race, came storming down the center of the track to outrun Spring to the Sky by one length, with Bridgetown another half-length back in third.

With Julian Pimentel aboard, Ben’s Cat completed five furlongs on firm turf in 56.18 seconds.

“How often does a horse like this come around?” Leatherbury asked rhetorically. “He’s a very intelligent horse. He knows what he’s supposed to do.”

Ben’s Cat, a 7-year-old gelding, has earned $1,462,290. He has won 13 of 19 on turf, and is 4 for 7 at Pimlico. He has won both his starts this year, and has won five of his last six races dating to last September.

Leatherbury, 81, has been a stalwart on the Maryland circuit for decades. He has won 6,383 races, placing him fifth all-time among trainers.

He said the McKay held special meaning because the late decorated broadcaster “was a personal friend of mine.”

Kevin Mitchell More than 1 year ago
Would be nice to see King nominate him for Breeders Cup.
wolves More than 1 year ago
Don't follow the circuit, but if this horse wins that many races with Pimpenthal, he must be a bear
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The King and the Cat!!!
P More than 1 year ago
Ben's Cat deserves a heck of lot more accolades than the media lavishes on other horses. Seven year's old and still going to the winner's circle in stakes races and thrilling fans.