Ben’s Cat Wins Maryland Million Turf Sprint

LAUREL, MD. (AP) — Ben’s Cat wasn’t nominated for next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Owner and trainer King Leatherbury is trying everything to get him there.

Ben’s Cat helped his own cause by beating Steady Warrior by a length in the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint on Saturday, winning the race for the second straight year.

Ridden by Jeremy Rose, Ben’s Cat finished the 5 1/2 furlong race for 3-year-olds and up in 1:06.07 to earn $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10.

Steady Warrior paid $4.80 and $4.40, while Heaven’s Voice returned $5.20 for finishing 10 lengths back in the field of seven.

The five-year-old gelding has won 13 races in 17 starts, and six of eight at Laurel. Leatherbury hopes to raise $100,000 to run Ben’s Cat in the Breeders’ Cup.

“We’re going to get serious about it now. We haven’t been serious. We just threw it out there,” Leatherbury said. “It grew
on its own. Now, we may start to promote that a little bit.”

The 78-year-old Leatherbury plans on getting some help to raise the $100,000 entry fee.

“I won’t dig in my own pocket — I might put a little bit up if we can get a group,” he said.

Rose won the 2005 Preakness and Belmont aboard Afleet Alex, and he said that Ben’s Cat, who didn’t race until he was a 4-year-old due to a broken pelvis, is an elite horse.

“He definitely deserves a shot at the Breeders’ Cup — and he would be the best horse going into the Breeders’ Cup,” Rose said. “… This horse is proven. You know what you’re getting. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”

The Turf Sprint is one of 11 races in the series for Maryland-bred horses inaugurated in 1986 by broadcaster Jim McKay.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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