Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
I ain’t as good as I once was
But I’m as good once as I ever was
Toby Keith’s lyrics might hold true for some, but they certainly don’t apply to Ben’s Cat. At 7, the Parker’s Storm Cat gelding is still as good as he ever was. For those that might have thought he was past his peak last year, think again. Today’s victory extended his win streak to three, and after not finishing off the board since July of last year, it’s safe to say that Ben’s Cat has not missed a step.
In taking today’s Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes, Ben’s Cat notched his twenty-first victory in 31 career starts, 16 of which came in stakes races. While Bridgetown and Spring to the Sky did battle on the front end, Ben’s Cat was content to patiently bide his time at the back of the field. As the field left the turn, the intrepid gelding pounced. Under Julian Pimentel, Ben’s Cat wore down the front-running duo and propelled past them to win by one. He stopped the clock in 56:18, a time that was less than half a second off the track record and a full 3 ½ seconds faster than his time in the 2011 edition of the Jim McKay. A time like that is something that’ll make you slap your grandma.
About a year and a half ago I wrote an article berating King Leatherbury for opting to skip the Breeders’ Cup rather than pony up the $100,000 supplemental fee required for the gelding to be entered (To read that article, click here). Despite knowing that decision was probably the best for Leatherbury financially, I still maintain that Ben’s Cat should be given a shot at the big time. Since his debut just over three years ago, the gelding has developed quite a following, and fans of the dark bay Maryland bred would love nothing more than to see the fan favorite take his act on the road. Heck, if at 7-years old he can still win stakes races in near record time, he deserves to show those young whippersnappers how it’s done on the big stage.
Leatherbury, break out your suitcase. It’s past time we see Ben’s Cat in primetime.