Updated on 04/10/2011 9:48AM

Pimlico: Ben's Cat repeats in Mister Diz

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ben's Cat, ridden by Jeremy Rose, wins the Mister Diz Stakes for the second time.

Moving the Mister Diz from its scheduled place on Pimlico’s turf course to the main track didn’t bother Ben’s Cat one bit.

Winner of the Mister Diz for Maryland-breds when it was contested at six furlongs on grass last August, Ben’s Cat ($5.40) repeated the feat Saturday, coming from off the pace to take five-furlong stakes on dirt.

Although the 5-year-old Ben’s Cat is now 6 for 9 lifetime on dirt, compared with 3 for 3 on turf, Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury said he was concerned when the Mister Diz was moved to the main track. That meant Ben’s Cat would have to cope with the New York-based Digger, who owns 14 lifetime victories on dirt and was second in the Grade 2 General George Handicap in 2010.

“I thought it diminished my chances of winning,” Leatherbury said. “Some of these other horses are a little better on dirt and I still think my horse is better on turf.”

Ben’s Cat, ridden for the first time by Jeremy Rose, sat about two lengths off a contested pace in fourth, rallied wide coming into the stretch, and drew clear by 1 1/4 lengths over the 12-1 longshot Sandbagin’ Lover.

Digger finished a neck in back of Sandbagin’ Lover as the even-money favorite in a field reduced to six by two scratches.

In snapping a three-race losing streak following eight straight wins to begin his injury-delayed career, Ben’s Cat completed the distance in 57.82 seconds.

With regular rider Julian Pimentel in New York to ride Norman Asbjornson in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, Rose picked up the mount but only after Sheldon Russell had committed to Heros Reward, who was scratched by trainer Dale Capuano when the Mister Diz came off the turf.

“I was just a passenger today,” said Rose, who rode three winners on the card. “I broke, sat inside, went outside while he did all the work. You have to like any horse who puts a string of wins together like he did. Today, I loved how easy he was to rate and when I hit the accelerator, he was gone.”

Leatherbury indicated Ben’s Cat, who has now earned $268,230 in his career, could run in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on the Black-Eyed Susan card on May 20 or a day later in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap on the Preakness undercard.